November Recipe of the Month - Dinner in a Pumpkin




*Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Let’s be honest; it wouldn’t be Fall without the pumpkins. A native of North America, those bright orange globes ripen just in time for the harvest season and most people couldn’t be happier. You can get just about anything pumpkin flavored these days, but for this spectacular Thanksgiving recipe we get use the entire pumpkin! There are many options to meet your dietary preference – so take your pick and let your creativity run wild… Pause for a moment before eating, to reflect and to offer gratitude for a nourishing meal surrounded by loved ones. Happy cooking!

Serves 12

The stuffing for this entrée can be made two days ahead.

Ingredients:
1 lb. wild rice blend 2 lb. fresh spinach, stemmed
¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
6 cups sliced mushrooms (1 ½ lb.)
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
1 cup diced celery
9 cloves garlic, minced, divided (3 Tbs.)
3 Tbs. chopped fresh sage, divided
4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
2 lb. brussels sprouts, de-stemmed and halved
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
*optional cooked meats (shredded chicken, ground turkey, ground beef etc.)
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 cup fresh cranberries 1 6- to 8-lb. cooking pumpkin
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper to taste
*optional gorgonzola cheese

Instructions:
  • Prepare wild rice blend according to package directions or cooking time. Transfer the rice to a large bowl.
  • Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in bottom of skillet. Add spinach, and cook 4 minutes, or until wilted. Drain, and cool, then squeeze dry, chop, and add to rice in bowl.
  • Heat 2 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery, brussels sprouts and cranberries, 4 tsp. garlic, 1 Tbs. sage, and 2 tsp. thyme; sauté 10 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated. Pour in 2 Tbs. of balsamic vinegar and chickpeas, and sauté 3 minutes. Stir mushroom mixture into rice mixture. Mix with pecans, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  • If you are adding cooked meats, just add this to mixture after the pecans.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the top from pumpkin, and scoop out seeds and pulp.
  • Combine remaining 1/4 cup oil, remaining 5 tsp. garlic, 2 Tbs. sage, and 2 tsp. thyme in bowl. Brush oil mixture over inside of pumpkin. Fill pumpkin with rice mixture, cover with top, and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until pumpkin is tender when side is pierced with knife tip. Uncover, and bake 10 to 20 minutes more.
  • If you would like cheese, add the gorgonzola cheese crumbles and carefully stir into the mixture.

To serve: 

You can either choose to scoop out the pumpkin with the rice mixture or slice the pumpkin and scoop the mixture on top. 



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