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Maggie's Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash, Pine Nuts, and Dried Cherries

The savory sweetness of butternut squash is highlighted by tart dried cherries, fresh sage, and crunchy toasted pine nuts in this delicious cold-weather rice dish. It's a perfect side for roast chicken or lamb with rosemary.


  • 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 3/4 ounce Fond de Poulet Gold® dissolved in 2 cups hot water (or use Veggie-Stock Gold® for a vegetarian dish)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is melted and foaming, add the onion, garlic, and sage. Cook briefly, about 1 minute. Add the cubed butternut squash and cook until it is tender, about 12 minutes. Set the mixture aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Then add the rice and sauté until it turns golden brown.
  3. Slowly add the chicken stock (or vegetable stock) to the rice. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add more stock if the rice looks too dry.
  4. When the rice is done, add the squash mixture to the rice. Stir in the pine nuts and dried cherries. Season the pilaf with salt and pepper to taste.
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Classic French Stocks and Sauces