It is the signature flavor of the season, pumpking. When you think of pumpkin you probably think of pie, but you can enjoy pumpkin for dinner as an entree or a side dish. Our friends at Whole Foods Market shared this recipe for a savory dish.
Savory Stuffed Pumpkin
-1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
-2 to 3 cups already cooked brown rice/ or wild rice blend enough to fill your pumpkin
-4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped or 1 kielbasa sausage cut into bite-sized pieces
-1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
-1 chopped yellow onion
-2 celery stalks chopped
-2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), coarsely chopped
-1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
-Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
-Salt and freshly ground pepper (just a bit)
-1 cup chicken stock, beef stock or vegetable stock (and more if needed)
-A bit of olive oil (for greasing the casserole dish)
-Chopped green onion to garnish
-Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350⁰ F.
-Take cooked rice and put in a large mixing bowl.
-Cook the bacon or sausage in a sauté pan. When cooked, add the meat to the bowl of rice.
-Sauté your chopped onion, celery, and garlic with a little bit of the bacon or sausage drippings using a little broth if it starts to stick to the pan and cook until the onion and celery are translucent. Turn the burner off… Add the thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper and any other seasonings you desire and stir. Add this mixture to the large bowl that has your rice and meat in it.
-Cut your cheese into cubes and add it to the mixing bowl.
-Set entire mixture aside! It is time to get your pumpkin ready.
-Take your 3 pound pie pumpkin and cut the lid off and scoop out the seeds and strings. Rub a little oil salt and pepper on the inside of the pumpkin.
-Place your pumpkin in greased casserole dish. A round one is nice for presentation and if your pumpkin fits. You can also cook it in a square glass dish.
-Take the mixture in the bowl, stuff the pumpkin full (but not spilling over). Pour some broth into a pumpkin. The broth will keep the rice from drying out. You don’t want the mixture swimming, just a little wet.
-Place the lid on your pumpkin and put your pumpkin in the oven. Bake for about 2 hours. I check it at about an hour to 90 minutes to see how it is doing. You want to pumpkin to be soft enough to eat but not collapsing and you want the cheese to be melted. I like to remove the lid and let it cook open for the last 20 minutes.
-When it is done remove the pumpkin from the oven… The pumpkin will be hot and a little wobbly so be careful! Once it is out of the oven and has cooled a little I like to try to transfer it to a serving plate (but only if I’m feeling brave).
-Serving is simple! Scoop out the filling and scrape the sides to get hunks of pumpkin as you go.
-If you have leftovers scoop as much pumpkin and filling as you can into a container and throw out the pumpkin carcass.
-Serves 4 (as a side) Serves 2 (as a meal)