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A hearty, comfort food meal made with rice and ground beef, then festively baked right in a pumpkin!
A few posts ago, I told you all that I didn’t like pumpkin until recently. That was very, very true. But, whenever my mom would make this for us growing up, I would always ask her to cook my serving outside of the pumpkin. Or if she did cook the entire mixture, I’d take my serving out first, before she scraped the pumpkin and mix it into the filling.
I was kind of a demanding kid. I wouldn’t have anything to do with fish, nuts, bananas, or mushrooms and I always begged for the middle (AKA best) piece.
But, now, I’ve come into the light (except for my love of middle pieces – that’s still the same!). Pumpkin and I now live in (delicious) harmony together. So, recently, when my mother made this recipe for my middle sister’s birthday party, I ate my serving after she’d scraped the pumpkin meat into the mixture. And I loved it.
I know. It was a big step.
We’ve used pie pumpkins and regular pumpkins and both have always turned out great (except for one year when the pumpkin was just a dud!). You can also use as much or as little pumpkin “meat” as you’d like to cater to everyone’s tastes.
It’s the perfect flavorful comfort food for fall with such a fun presentation!
adapted from the Thirty Years of Festive Foods Southwestern Public Service Company cookbook
- 1 large pumpkin, seeded
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 Tbs. oil (if needed)
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 can cream of chicken or celery soup
- 2–3 c. cooked rice
- 1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained
- Cook ground beef, onion, garlic, and celery in the oil (if needed); drain.
- Add soy sauce and brown sugar, and simmer about 10 minutes.
- Add rice and water chestnuts, stir to combine.
- Spoon into cleaned pumpkin, put top in it and place on cookie sheet.
- Bake an hour or more, at 350 degrees, until pumpkin is cooked and filling is hot.
- If desired, scrape insides of pumpkin with a spoon and mix pumpkin into filling.
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