Nothing says fall quite like baked savory dishes, especially those from the pumpkin family.
In addition to the fun that can be had from transforming pumkins into jack-o’-lanterns and the quintessentially American custom of pumkin pie, the rotund, orange gourd yields a range of historic culinary delights. Indeed, in colonial days, pumpkins were more prized as a vegetable, served up routinely on the dinner table.
This recipe not only celebrates that time-honored tradition, but also offers a unique way to get the most out of your seasonal squash. You can substitute a Hubbard, delicata, or any other winter squash for pumpkin. And the filling can easily be adjusted to suit your creative impulses. Try adding sausage or hearty green kale into the mix; make it more colorful with turmeric, more robust in flavor with the addition of allspice.
Fall Stuffed Pumpkin
1 pumpkin or large squash
½ stick butter
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Vidalia onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ lb ground lamb
½ cup pine nuts
1 cup slivered almonds
⅓ cup golden raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups cooked black forbidden rice or wild rice blend
salt and pepper to taste
Scrub the pumpkin; cut a wide circular opening around the top where the stem is. Remove the lid. Cut the fibrous pulp from the inside of the lid. Scoop out the seeds and fiber and set aside.
In a small pan, toast the pine nuts over a low flame until they become golden, stirring constantly and being careful not to brown too much or scorch.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, cooking until translucent. Add the garlic and meat, and stir to cook until brown. Add nuts, raisins, cinnamon and rice to the mixture, and stir to cook. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Fill the pumpkin with the meat mixture. Put the lid on and place pumpkin on a baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is soft but not mushy. The entire pumpkin is edible excepting the skin.
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