Monday, January 23, 2017

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp
Inspired by

  • 4-6 small pumpkins, about 4" in diameter
  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (we used baby bella)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Salt and pepper (I do about 1 tsp each)
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme 
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (we used low sodium)
  • 4 cups cooked rice, white or brown

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry the outside of the pumpkins.
  • Cut the top off the pumpkins and clean out the pulp and seeds. Place the pumpkins on the baking sheet. Save the tops.
  • In a large skillet, sauté onion and mushrooms in oil or butter. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain the grease from the beef. Add salt, pepper and thyme.
  • In a large bowl, mix soup, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Add ground beef mixture and cooked rice.
  • Empty bowl into the cleaned out pumpkin and replace pumpkin top.
  • Bake for 1 hour on the lower rack of the oven, or on the rack where the pumpkins can be most centered in the oven.
  • After 1 hour, remove the tops and check the sides of the pumpkins for doneness. The outside of the pumpkins will turn a dark orange, and the inside of the pumpkins should be tender and easily scoop off the sides with a spoon. If the inside of the pumpkin is still not fully cooked, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin. Sometimes I've cooked the pumpkin as long as an hour and a half before it is ready. 
  • Using hot pads, place the pumpkin onto a serving plate, remove the lid, and stir. Be sure to scoop off chunks of cooked pumpkin into the casserole as it is served. That's the best part!
Notes: The original recipe was not for smaller pumpkins but I thought they were more fun in these individual serving sizes.  Also, instead of making the stuffing and then baking it in the pumpkins, I baked the pumpkins while I made the stuffing to save on time.  When everything was cooked, I put the stuffing in the pumpkins and thought they tasted great. Originally, this recipe also called for water chestnuts but we left those out. I think shredded carrots would probably be a good addition. 

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