Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stuffed Pumpkin

While I'm waiting to see if the sky will clear enough so I can see the amazing winter solstice total eclipse of the full moon at midnight, I thought I share a recipe with you.

I love stuffed pumpkin. I prefer them stuffed with rice - but after that, all bets are off. I've stuffed pumpkins with rice and pine nuts or rice and shitake mushrooms. Rice and chopped greens is a little weird, and I don't think I'll ever try the rice and broccoli stuffed pumpkin again.

Last night however, I think I made one of the best stuffed pumpkins ever.

I started with a cute little pie pumpkin, one of the last out of the garden. I cooked up a big batch of Arkansas long-grain brown rice. Did you know that Arkansas is the largest producer of rice in the US. Another good reason for living here. I can still enjoy rice and buy local!

I browned about a pound of ground lamb in a large cast iron frying pan. Our butcher makes his hand-sized packages which work great for our family of 3 big eaters. I stirred in and lightly cooked one coarse chopped onion and one large apple - the last from our next door neighbor's tree. I minced 4 large cloves of garlic and added them to the pan. Then I poured in about 1/2 cup of apple cider and two teaspoons of Garam Masala spice (I buy that from Mountain Rose Herbs). I stirred it all well and turned off the fire under the pan.

Then I cut the top out of the pumpkin and scooped out the seeds. They went into the bowl that goes out to the goats. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent natural wormer. Then I powdered the whole inside of the pumkin, including the top with about a tablespoon of the Masala spice.

I stuffed the little pumpkin with the rice mixture, packing it down well, and put it into a 9x13 pan with about 1/2 cup of apple cider and 1/2 cup of water in the pan. I baked it at 350 for 1/2 hour, then I put the rest of the stuffing into the pan around the pumpkin and put it back in the oven for about another 45 minutes while I went out and milked and did evening chores.

I loved it and am taking left-overs for lunch. Lena and Shawn were less enthusiastic, that's why I have left-overs.

The sky is still cloudy. Even though the cloud cover was heavy, the night was still bright and the pink glow of the eclipse made an interesting effect on the clouds.

Happy Solstice everyone!

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

1 small pie pumpkin
1 lb ground lamb
4 cups cooked long grain brown rice
1 large onion
1 large apple
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp Garam Masala spice
1/2 c apple cider
1 Tbs Garam Masala spice
1/2 c apple cider
1/2 c water

Clean seeds out of pumpkin and powder inside with 1 Tbs Masala.
Brown lamb, onion, apple, garlic, 2 tsp Masala and 1/2 c apple cider.
Stuff pumpkin with mix, pour remaining cider and water into 9x13 pan, set stuffed pumpkin in middle. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour. Surround pumpkin with remaining stuffing and continue to bake at 350 for another 45 minutes. Cut pumpkin into quarters and serve with stuffing scooped over top.

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