Yes! It’s another pumpkin recipe and one that isn’t doused in sugar, cinnamon and frosting! I’m trying new things with pumpkin, and I know that stuffing a pumpkin isn’t all that original but this beautiful, heirloom Musquée de Provence pumpkin is not just another pumpkin.
Last year, I promised myself that I would try a new pumpkin every week. I think I got through 2 ?
This year, I’ve tried to continue from where I left off last year. I’ve bought different squash/pumpkin for work related events and I think that totally counts ? This way, I get to try some without committing.
There are so many varieties and when I stop by Isabelle Farm, Roxanne, the lovely farm stand manager is really helpful. She knows her produce and can give you detailed descriptions of each thing they grow. She showed me this beautiful, flat-ish, heavily lobed pumpkin native to France. It comes in a variety of colours. The inside is dense with a deep orange colour, reminiscent of a cantaloupe or melon. They smell like melons too.
The Musquée de Provence pumpkin is a nice, sweet variety and makes excellent pies as well as starring in savoury dishes. Like most pumpkins, it doesn’t really have any particular taste, just an underlying sweetness and takes on flavours from its surrounding.
It roasts beautifully, taking about 2-2 ½ hours to get nice and soft. It keeps its shape really well and as you can see, I chose to slice it and not scoop out the pumpkin.
If you’re looking to try a new kind of pumpkin and having a show stopper dish, this just might be it. I stuffed it with a ground beef and brown rice stuffing with Italian peppers and seasonings.
Serves: 6-8 servings
- 1½ pounds/ 700g lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 2 red bell peppers or sweet Italian peppers, chopped
- ½ red Fresno or green chilli
- 4 Jimmy Nardello peppers, chopped (optional)
- 1 ½ cups/215g brown rice, cooked
- 4.5-5 pound pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon oil
- ½ cup cheese (for the top)
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
- Heat a large skillet or fry pan on medium height heat and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the onions and sauté until soft and lightly browned.
- Add the garlic, cook for a minute.
- Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is nicely browned.
- Add the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and the sweet paprika.
- Stir though the meat.
- Push the meat to the side of the pan, remove some oil if necessary (if your meat is lean, there won't be much)
- Leave about a tablespoon of oil.
- Add the chopped peppers, Fresno and Jimmy Nardellos, if using.
- Sauté the mixture till the peppers have softened, about 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from the heat.
- Add the cooked brown rice and stir through.
- While the ground beef mixture is cooking, hollow out the pumpkin.
- Using a sharp, small knife cut the pumpkin around the top in a 45 degree angle.
- You're aiming for a lid for the pumpkin.
- Cut all around and carefully remove the lid.
- Clean out the inside guts.
- Save the pumpkin seeds if you're going to roast them later.
- Rub the 1 teaspoon of oil over the top and the inside and season with salt and pepper.
- Stuff the pumpkin pretty tightly with the ground beef mixture.
- Stuff to the top but you will place the lid on top so didn't over fill.
- You may have some mixture left depending on the size of your pumpkin.
- I had about 1 cup leftover (great for stuffing a green bell pepper)
- Place the lid on the pumpkin and place pumpkin on a tray or a cast iron skillet.
- Mine fit in my 10" cast iron pan.
- Put in the oven and bake for 2 hours.
- Check the pumpkin at 2 hours.
- Pierce with a knife.
- The knife should enter without any resistance.
- If it still feels firm, let bake for another 30 minutes or so.
- Near the end of the cooking time, remove the lid carefully and sprinkle cheese over the top.
- Place back in the oven to melt and brown without the lid for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool.
- Add the lid back before serving at the table.
- Serve by scooping out the goodies from the pumpkin or cut into wedges.
- The filling will disintegrate but you can scoop up with a spoon.
- Serve with a vibrant, leafy green salad that has a bright, lemony dressing.
As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding this week and we took a weekend away to Cheyenne Mountain. Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado Springs, is beautifully scenic. We witnessed amazing sunrises from our resort window and basked in the warm, red glow that spread through our room.
The resort itself, Cheyenne Mountain Resort, is a nice place. People were incredibly friendly and the resort itself is beautiful. The rooms could be updated and the straw mats they call beds and the hay stuffed pillows (I’m not kidding). For $200+ a night, I was expecting a much more luxurious room.
I guess the money goes towards all the activities and the main living areas. The huge lodge- like beams and struts, and this one chandelier made of wrought iron that totally mesmerised me.
The most disappointing thing though, is the restaurant, of course. I had done some research before we set off on our weekend and came across their in-house restaurant that sounded like a dream (I should know better by now) Thinking that we would save time and wouldn’t have to drive out again to eat, I decided to make reservations there. They flaunted a popular Colorado Comfort buffet prepared by their chef. Honestly, it sounded really good. At $36 a person, a steal too.
Let me just say, the best thing I ate there was the cheese platter (nothing fancy..prolly Tillamook with a few grapes and strawberries) and a mini lime tart.
This time when the survey came in my email, I told them how I felt and my experience with an underwhelming dinner. I am tired of eating sub par food and not complaining. For a special occasion meal, it really was terrible
The next night we ate at Rudy’s bbq that is a favourite from Texas. It’s always consistent and always good. I can eat a quart of their creamed corn all by myself.
Once again, it was about the company and not the food or accommodations but I still wish we could have it all!
Hope you’re all surviving the debacle that is our Election. But that’s how a democracy works…some win, some lose.
I just hope all this ugliness that has appeared since the Election results dies down soon. I can take the result knowing it is done democratically. What I can’t handle is the hate some people harbour.
Wishing you all a peaceful weekend.