‘Tis the Season to Be Basic

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Fall…ah, where do I begin?! I am a huge fan of fall, partially because I’m a Mischief Night baby, but also because it drums up so many happy memories from both my childhood and adult life.

As a kid, my mom would deck the house out with mums, pumpkins, and gourds and have a full fall itinerary lined up for my siblings and I— complete with hayrides, pumpkin carving, scarecrow creation, and costume parties. Once I grew older, college football (go Hokies!) became synonymous with Fall and any trip home to see my parents always proved (and still does) to be such a treat. There’s something about twisting through the vivid backroads by their house with my windows open that makes me feel so alive and grateful for the world around me.

That said, in the (tweaked) words of Buddy the Elf,  I love fall and don’t care how basic that makes me. Fortunately, my husband embraces my affinity for fall and lets me do my fall thing, both decor and recipe wise.

The other week, I came across a recipe in Cooking Light for a roasted stuffed pumpkin and immediately penciled it in on our weekend dinner menu. Note, this recipe is time consuming, so take that into account when planning to make it. Also, I didn’t take into consideration all of the leftover pumpkin we’d have, so plan to use it in salads, soups, pies, etc., in the week ahead.

Whole Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
Time: 1 hour (Active), 2 hours (total)
Serves 14 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 pork Italian sausages (I used chicken Italian sausages to cut calories)
  • 12 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  •  2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. berbere spice blend (optional— we found it at Whole Foods)
  •  1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 3/4 cups frozen black-eyed peas
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  •  1 cup uncooked farro
  •  1/2 lb. baby red potatoes, quartered
  •  2 large carrots cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 (10-12 lb.) Long Island Cheese pumpkin (check out this handy pumpkin/squash guide)
  • 1 (28 oz.) can unsalted whole tomatoes
  •  1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. The original recipe tells you to cut the top of the pumpkin and clear out the seeds/strings in the middle of the process, but this proved to be a distraction for me and I ended up missing a step in the recipe (grr). That said, I recommend cutting the top of the pumpkin (put to the side) / clearing the pumpkin when doing your prep work.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add sausages; cook 6 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove to a large plate; when cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Increase heat to medium-high; add 1 tbsp. olive oil to pan. Add mushrooms; sauté 7 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to plate with sausage. Add butter and remaining 1 tbsp. oil to pan. Add garlic, celery, and onion; cook 5 minutes. Add berbere and cardamom; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add stock, peas, and salt; simmer 10 minutes. Add farro, potatoes, and carrots; simmer 20 minutes.

4. Wrap the cleared pumpkin with aluminum foil; place in large roasting dish.

5. Drain tomatoes in a colander over a bowl. Break up tomatoes with hands, allowing juices to drain. Stir tomatoes, mushrooms, sausage, and parsley into stew. Ladle stew into prepared pumpkin. Place pumpkin top next to pumpkin on the pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until pumpkin flesh is tender and easily scooped from the sides.

6. Serve stew along with spoonfuls of pumpkin.

Chef’s Critique: The taste was there, but I was distracted by the tough potatoes/carrots (step I missed, so threw them in last minute and the time in the oven wasn’t enough). I definitely want to make this again to get the recipe right, as I did really enjoy the overall flavors.

The Husband Rating: “Adding the cooked pumpkin into the soup itself was absolutely delicious and the best part about the soup. Personally, I’d like to see more flavor in the form of the berbere spice, but overall, the soup was delicious and wasn’t far off from being really, really good.”

3 Comments
  • Corie Brickman

    Reply

    First of all, I want to live in that photo!

    Second, can’t wait to make this!! It looks and sounds absolutely delish. I’ve never heard of Berbere spices and I’m excited to look for and try them.

    • lsquaredsf

      I had not heard of Berbere before this recipe either, but boy, does it add so much character to a dish! Hope you enjoy, Carol ;)!

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