Friday, December 10, 2010

Pumpkin Stuffed with Rice, Cranberries, and Almonds

I dusted off my Nigella Christmas book the other night to get in the holiday mood. As I am prone to do for inspiration, I leaf through the book and mostly eye up the pictures for something that jumps out at me. I saw a picture that swept me off my feet in her pumpkin stuffed with rice. I thought it looked so delicious that I wanted to make my own version right away. I happened to have a pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving that I wanted to use so that I could replace it on the mantle with my glittery Christmas decorations. This is delicious and on top of that, it is a real show stopping beauty. The bright orange pumpkin against the shimmering cranberries almost draws you into the plate. This is something that can easily be altered to suit your tastes. Any nuts would be good and you could swap in craisins or dried cherries or pomegranate seeds. My next effort at this will include wild rice in the mix. We at it as a vegetarian dinner, but you could serve it as a side dish for a bigger meal. It heats up nicely for round two lunch as well. Win-win.
Pumpkin Stuffed with Rice, Cranberries, and Almonds
1 small flat-ish pumpkin
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup almonds
2 cups long grain white rice (not instant rice - or if that is what you have, then you will need to reduce the cooking time I think)
1 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. Go after the pumpkin with a nice sharp knife the exact same way that you would open and clean a pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern. I made the hole at the top just slightly larger than I do for a jack-o-lantern. Sprinkle the inside with salt, pepper, and a light drizzle of olive oil.
2. To make the filling, chop the onion, celery, and garlic and saute in a pan in some olive, salt and pepper for 4-5 minutes. (The top of my pumpkin was very thick, so I cut off the actual pumpkin part, diced it, and threw it in there too.)
3. Add the rice and cranberries and let them saute for a 3 minutes. Then add the wine and stock.
4. Cover and allow this mixture to simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes. You want about 1/2 of the water to be absorbed by the rice. You are still going to cook this in the oven and you want it to be moist throughout the second round of cooking.
5. Add chopped parsley and chopped almonds to this mixture.
6. Wrap the pumpkin in foil around the bottom and put it in a casserole dish.
7. Stuff the pumpkin with the mixture very generously. You want to really pack it in there good.
8. Cover the pumpkin with the top and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until the pumpkin is tender and the rice is also tender.
9. Let the pumpkin sit for 5 minutes so that it firms up and then slice it up and serve.
Beautiful and delicious!


  1. Wow, looks GREAT! Lovely colors. :)

  2. this is gorgeous! just like you!xo

  3. I just saw this and now feel that I've been missing it my entire life.