Baked Stuffed Pumpkin
The delicate flavour of pumpkin makes it an ideal combination for vegetables, spices, meat and poultry, cheeses or herbs, as a filling in pies or as the base for a soup. To accentuate the sweetness combine it with dried fruit or a little honey. To balance the sweetness use a few drops of lemon juice or sour quince.
- 1 pumpkin
- 1 kilo ground beef
- 4-5 shallots, finely sliced
- 3 large leeks(white and green parts) finely sliced
- 200 ml dry white wine
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 100 gr pine nuts
- 1 bunch of dill leaves finely chopped
- juice of 2-3 lemons
- 1 table spoon ground fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Toast the pine nuts in a nonstick pan without oil until golden brown. Wash the outside of the pumpkin and cut off the top as if you were making stuffed tomatoes. Using a large spoon, scrape out the fibers and seeds.
Take a large pot and saute the meat in oil over a low heat, stirring until it changes colour and breaks up. Add the shallots and leeks and saute for 3-4 minutes. Season and add wine and cook until the alchohol has evaporated.
Add the rice, the toasted pine nuts, dill, lemon juice and a cup of boiled water and simmer for 10 minutes. The rice shouldn't be completely done as it will continue to cook inside the pumpkin. The stuffing should be still 'wet'.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Sprinkle the ground fennel seeds inside the pumpkin with a little freshly ground pepper. Fill the pumpkin with stuffing, replace the top and put it in a baking dish. Brush the outside with olive oil and wrap well in a grease proof paper or uluminum baking foil.
Bake for an hour at 200C, then lower to 150C for around 90 minutes. To test,pierce with a skewer,which should go in easily.
After removing from the oven, remove the paper and serve whole. Serve the stuffing with a spoon along with some of the pumpkin flesh, being careful not to include any of the skin.
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