Monday, January 3, 2011

Not your usual "Dinner in a Pumpkin"

Have any of you been intrigued by the idea of dinner in a pumpkin? I have. I think it is a wonderful idea, despite the fact that all the stuffed pumpkins I had experienced were, ummm, interesting: too much sugar, too much ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and all sorts of other processed food options. Since I'm all for healthy, homemade, whole foods, I decided to come up with my own recipe. I was amazed at how easy it was to come up with a delicious recipe that met all my requirements, and now you can be amazed too!

Not your usual dinner in a pumpkin
1 5 LB Winter Squash
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup Onion , chopped
3 cloves Garlic , minced
1 cup Mushrooms , sliced
2 cups Vegetable broth
4 cups Kale , finely chopped
1 cup Meat , such as browned sausage or ground beef, cooked chicken, or whatever you have on hand
4 leaves Sage, finely minced

Start with an eating squash (not a jack-o-lantern pumpkin). I've used amber cup and kabocha squashes with amazing results. Cut a lid out of the top like a jack-o-lantern and scrape out all the seeds and strings. Lightly salt inside the pumpkin and set aside.

In a small saucepan heat a small amount of vegetable oil or butter and add the onions and garlic. Cook them until translucent and tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sage, quinoa, and veggie broth and cook until the water is mostly gone. Add the kale and stir in. If desired, stir in the meat and then put the whole mixture into the cavity of the pumpkin.

Place a small piece of foil over the opening and replace the lid of the pumpkin. Put the squash on a cookie sheet or in an oven safe dish and bake for 1.5 to 2 hours, or when the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.

Remove whole pumpkin to a serving dish. Make sure to scrape the sides of the pumpkin as you serve so you get all that yummy squash!

Some notes:
You can use brown rice or a mix of brown rice and quinoa. If you use a mix, add the brown rice first, let it cook for about ten minutes, and then add the quinoa.

The meat is optional. This dish can be a very tasty vegetarian or vegan meal.

If you don't like kale, I'm sorry. But if you really must replace it with something else, know that kale works because it takes some cooking to get it tender. Whatever you use will need to be similar so you don't end up with vegetable mush. If you haven't tried kale, you should! It doesn't have a strong, "aquired taste" flavor, tastes fabulous with garlic, and is so healthy.

1 comment:

Delirious said...

It's so funny because I saw a tv show about 20 years ago that made dinner in a pumpkin, but without your good results. The show was called, "The Home Show", and the host got the recipe from her sister, but didn't try it at home ahead of time. She only cooked the pumpkin for about an hour, and when it came time to taste it, she and her co-host took a bite, then just stared at each other. Suddenly they started laughing because the food was cold. lol
Your recipe sounds really good to me. I like Kale, so this should be good. I also like quinoa!