Every year for the past eight years at least, I’ve served up some kind of meal in a pumpkin. This weekend, the British Columbia sky became brooding and gray, so it seemed fitting to snuggle in and cook something cozy. So after sending my four-year-old out to get the sugar pumpkin that has been on display with the Chinese/Japanese lanterns, I came up with a plan for it. As usual, I just worked with what I happened to have, so this is an alteration of a real recipe. I like this recipe because it’s more vegetable-laden than typical chili, so it’s easier to eat.
Vegetarian Chili Stew in a Pumpkin
1 sugar pumpkin
2 cups butternut squash
2 medium onions, diced
2 cups chopped celery
1 pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeno chili, minced (I used some Frank’s hot sauce)
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 can of diced tomatoes
1-ish cup of pasta or tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans
1 pkg of ground round (or ground meat if you eat meat)
1 diced zucchini
1 cup diced mushrooms (I didn’t have any)
1.5 tsp chili powder
1.5 tsp cumin
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
Lime juice & cilantro as garnish
- Scrape seeds and pulp out of pumpkin. Rinse seeds and spray lightly with cooking spray on a pan. Season to taste (we used salt, cumin, chili powder, pepper, etc.)
- Bake pumpkin at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours (depending on pumpkin size). I just cooked it in a pie tin this time with no water. It turned out well and was completely cooked in that time frame. Cooked the seeds for about the last 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, I sauteed the diced squash and just tossed in the other ingredients as soon as I had them chopped up. Let it stew till the pumpkin was done.
- Let 4-year-old scoop the stew into the pumpkin.
- Added lime juice and cilantro and a sprinkling of roasted pumpkin seeds at the table.
- (usually I use the pumpkin itself in my dinner-in-a-pumpkin recipes. This time I also used squash, but later scraped out the pumpkin and mixed it in to the left over chili).
Ironically, I posted this same recipe last year but forgot. I used to use a totally different stuffed pumpkin recipe involving rice and asparagus. Maybe next time!