Make this stuffed pumpkin with an 8-pound sugar pumpkin or a large turban squash. Remove the top as you would for a Halloween pumpkin and cut out the seeds. Chef Sherry Pocknett of the Pequot Museum fills the pumpkin with brown, white, and wild rice. Use the rice you prefer (start with 1½ cups); this version calls for long-grain white rice. Bake the pumpkin or squash first, then fill it and bake again. If you prep it for the next day, bake the pumpkin or squash but do not fill it until right before baking the second time. The internal temperature of the filling should be 165 degrees.
|1||whole sugar pumpkin or turban squash (7-8 pounds)|
|Vegetable oil (for the pumpkin or squash)|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|1½||cups long-grain white rice|
|1||cup frozen corn kernels, thawed|
|1||cup canned kidney beans|
|1||cup dried cranberries|
|2||tablespoons vegetable oil|
|1||large onion, chopped|
|2||cups coarsely chopped kale, spinach, or other greens|
|2||tablespoons maple syrup|
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line a 12-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
2. Use a small, sharp knife to cut a cone-shaped “lid” from the top of the pumpkin or squash. Remove the seeds. Rub the inside and outside of the pumpkin or squash with oil. Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper. Set the pumpkin or squash on the paper. Set the lid beside it. Roast the pumpkin or squash for 1 hour, or until it is tender when the skin is pierced with a small knife. Cut off enough flesh from the walls of the pumpkin or squash to make 1½ cups chopped squash; chop it coarsely. Leave the oven on.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the water and a large pinch of salt to a boil. Add the rice and return just to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender. If all the water has not evaporated from the pan, leave the heat on low and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes more. Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Stir in the corn, kidney beans, and cranberries; set aside.
4. In a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the onion, scallions, chopped pumpkin or squash, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the onions soften. Add the kale or spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes more, or until the greens are tender but still bright.
5. Stir the onion mixture and maple syrup into the rice mixture. Pack it into the pumpkin or squash, mounding it with your hand.
6. Return the pumpkin or squash to the oven and continue baking for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the stuffing registers 165 degrees. Cover loosely with foil if the rice mixture on top is browning.
7. To serve: Scoop the rice mixture from the center of the pumpkin or squash with a large spoon, cutting pieces from the inside walls to serve with it.