For me October = Pumpkins. A few years ago, I started a tradition/challenge for myself of cooking at least one pumpkin dish per week thru the month of October, which I dubbed Pumpkin Month. This month’s comes a little early, as I planned to cook this for next week’s Local Food Challenge post, the first week of October. (This week was going to feature produce from the Colwood Market, but they’ve closed up shop early; not enough customers!)
Last year I did an awesome Pumpkin Soup, but I’ve always wanted to do a Stuffed Pumpkin and after a little internet research, I found it’s pretty much a catch-all “casserole” idea. Great for using up some odds and ends you’ve already got as well as whatever is fresh and in season locally. For this you’ll want to use a small Sugar Pie Pumpkin, a sweeter variety than the common Cinderella-perfect Field Pumpkin used for carving. My pumpkin was grown on Gobind Farm in Saanich.
INGREDIENTS: (* local)
1 pie pumpkin (* Gobind Farms)
1 cup cooked brown basmati rise
1 large or 2 small red/orange peppers (* SunWing)
1 small tomato (* our greenhouse)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup crushed almonds
1 tsp honey (* Babe’s)
1 tbsp butter
COOK 1/3 cup aromatic brown basmati rice with 1 1/2 cups boiled water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. (It will cook the rest of the way inside the pumpkin with the juices of the vegetables.)
PREP in the meanwhile… dice peppers and tomato, slice leek, crush almonds. In a large bowl, mix leek, peppers, tomatoes, cranberries, almonds and honey. When the rice is near done, strain and melt in 1 tbsp butter. Mix rice with veggies and stuff your pumpkin!
COOK whole stuffed pumpkin, with top lid fit back on for 1 hour @ 400, then turn it down to 350 for another 1/2 hour.
SERVE with sour cream, salad and/or fresh tomatoes.
Other delicious variations could include sausage! (I may try this again with Galloping Goose Sausage.)