Baked Savory Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

This past spring I started to come across rice stuffed pumpkin recipes. I wasn’t looking for them and wasn’t I thinking on fall recipes. I stumbled across a handful of these recipes in middle eastern cookbooks and was mesmerized. The rice and all the aromatic herbs used to scent the dishes were unforgettable.

I noted to revisit this idea of stuffing rice into a pumpkin come fall. And here we are.Folks. If you’ve never stuffed a pumpkin with rice and baked it, you’re missing out.

After two successful attempts of filling a pie pumpkin from Market Street with bacon-herby-cheesy rice I was officially addicted, elated and, well… stumped. Why on earth (especially during the past 10 years when our society has been hyper-pumpkin) do we not stuff and bake pumpkins more often?First off, the pumpkin is a perfect cooking vessel. It’s a giant insulated bowl that can hold anything from savory rice (like I do here) to a spicy chili.

Second, filling a pumpkin with food is FUN! When I stuck it in the oven I was struck by its beauty. When I removed the pumpkin from the oven I had a hard time not thinking “what a piece of art!” It’s unique, amusing and an interesting point of conversation.
The more I make this baked pumpkin and tell others about it, (because it’s such an all-around pleasant recipe) the more I hear of food memories that include a baked pumpkin. There seems to be small pockets of individuals who yearly stuff pumpkins with an assortment of tasty ingredients and serve it on Halloween night or Thanksgiving. What a fun tradition!

Having enjoyed developing this recipe, I also want this pumpkin bake to become my fall tradition. Maybe not on Halloween or Thanksgiving– but perhaps the first cold evening of fall? Or the night our family decorates for Halloween? There are so many options to make this meal a family ritual. But…first things first. The pumpkin. I need to start with the pumpkin.
That decision is easy. Market Street has such a beautiful variety of pumpkins that I know it will be difficult to decide on the pumpkin. Cinderella! Fairy Tale! Wolf! Jack-O-Lantern! It is easy to get side-tracked.

When I bake a pumpkin, I prefer a 3 pound pumpkin instead of anything larger. The pie pumpkin is perfect for stuffing. It easily serves a group of 4 to 5. If you need to serve 8 to 10, grab two pumpkins. They are small and not to heavy– which means handling the pumpkin is a lot easier. Plus the pulp and seeds inside the small pumpkin are minimal.Once the pumpkin is selected everything else is basic. Rice, bacon, cheese, cream, fresh herbs and shallots. It’s easy as (pumpkin) pie!

The fall beckons for traditions– new or old, antiquated or modern. Get aboard the tradition train and start having more food fun! I hope this recipe will be a part of your holiday ritual that loved ones will tell of one day and continue to pass on.

Baked Savory Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

Author note: The liquid from the pumpkin will ooze out of the bottom of the pumpkin. Parchment paper will keep this mess from sticking to the bottom of the sheet pan. Omit the red pepper flakes if a bit of heat is not desired.

1 3 pound pie pumpkin

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

pinch of nutmeg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 shallot, diced

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup unsalted chicken stock

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup water

1 cup gruyere

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the top off of the pumpkin. Remove the seeds and any excess pulp.
  3. Rub the interior of the pumpkin with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch or two of nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. Place 1 tablespoon butter, bacon, shallot, thyme and red pepper flakes into a medium sized skillet. Sauté over medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked and the shallots softened.
  5. Add the arborio rice and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  6. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the liquid is almost absorbed.
  7. Remove from the heat. Pour the mixture into the pumpkin. Add the cream, water and gruyere. Stir well. Top with 1 tablespoon butter.
  8. Place the pumpkin on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the rice is cooked all the way through.
  9. Remove from the oven and spoon out the rice with the pumpkin.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Market Street. All opinions are my own.

Persimmon Jam Goat Cheese Crostini

Persimmon Jam Goat Cheese Crostini

french baguettes, sliced thin

persimmon ginger jam (recipe below)

goat cheese crumbles

pomegranate seeds, for topping

  1. Heat the broiler to 500 degrees.
  2. Spread the jam onto each slice of baguette.
  3. Place the bread slices on a lined baking sheet.
  4. Top with crumbled goat cheese.
  5. Place into the oven and broil for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly browned.
  6. Top with pomegranates and serve warm or at room temperature.

for the persimmon ginger jam

Author note: The amount of honey or sugar used is dependent upon how sweet the persimmons used are. To test take a bite or two of the persimmon before making the jam. Add sugar and honey accordingly.

3 cups persimmons, skinned and finely diced

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely diced

pinch of kosher salt

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of 1 orange

hand held potato masher

  1. Place all ingredients into a small saucepan. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until all the liquids are released.
  2. Remove the lid and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent browning.
  3. Remove from the heat and with a potato masher, mash the fruit until it is slightly chunky.
  4. Bring to room temperature and store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Coconut-Ginger Mushroom Soup

Coconut-Ginger Mushroom Soup

Author note: Store bought chicken stock can also be used for this soup, however be sure to adjust the salt.

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup shallots, diced (skins and ends set aside)

3 1-inch pieces of fresh ginger, skins removed

3 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped (be sure to remove the stalks and set aside to be used for the mushroom stock)

3 cups oyster mushrooms, chopped (be sure to remove the stalks and set aside to be used for the mushroom stock)

5 cups chicken stock (see recipe below)

2 cups mushroom stock (see recipe below)

4 sprigs fresh thyme

4 fresh sage leaves

4 fresh basil leaves

handful parsley stems

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar

  1. In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ginger and shallots. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Decrease the heat to low and add the shittake mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook for five minutes, stir occasionally.
  3. Move the cooked shiitake mushrooms to the side of the pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil to the middle of the pan and let melt. Once the coconut oil is melted add the oyster mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stir occasionally.
  4. Using kitchen twine, tie the herbs and parsley stems together. Place the herbs into the mushrooms. Stir well.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 cup of strained mushroom stock to the mushrooms, let reduce almost entirely (similar to cooking risotto). Repeat this step with the remaining 1 cup of mushroom stock. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  6. Add chicken stock and 1 teaspoon salt to the mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove herbs and 2 pieces of ginger.
  8. Add the coconut milk and vinegar to the soup. Warm through for 5 minutes.
  9. Salt to taste and serve warm. If a smooth pureed soup is desired, puree the soup with an immersion blender, food processor or blender to desired consistency. Serve warm.

For the Mushroom Stock

mushroom stalks from 3 cups of shiitake mushrooms

mushroom stalks from 3 cups of oyster mushrooms

1 shallot, halved

scraps of 1/2 cup of shallots (from Coconut Ginger Mushroom Soup)

4 cups water

  1. Place all ingredients into a small saucepan. Over high heat bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let cook until reduced by half, about 1 hour.
  2. Strain the stock from the mushrooms and shallots. Use as directed.

For the Chicken Stock

3 lbs bone-in chicken pieces

1 onion quartered

16 cups water

  1. Place all ingredients into a large stock pan. Over high heat bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 3-4 hours.
  2. Strain the stock from the chicken and onions. Use as directed.


Instant Pot Carnitas Loaded Fries

Instant Pot Carnitas Loaded Fries

2 16 ounce bags frozen French fries

Instant Pot Green Chile Carnitas, see recipe below

sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

hot sauce

cilantro, chopped

jalapenos, sliced

red or green onions, chopped

poached eggs, optional topping

  1. Cook the french fries according to the instructions.
  2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Place the cooked french fries onto a large rimmed baking sheet and create two to three layers of fries.
  4. Generously cover the french fries with a layer of cheese. Place a generous amount of carnitas on top of the cheese. Repeat this step one more time. Place a final topping of cheese over the last layer of carnitas.
  5. Place the french fries into the oven. Cook for 10 minutes or until the cheese is thoroughly melted and slightly browned.
  6. Top the french fries with 3 poached eggs, dollops of sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro and green onions (and any additional favorite toppings). Serve immediately.

for the Instant Pot Carnitas

4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 1/2 to 3 inch pieces

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 cups canned green chilies (about 3 4 ounce cans)

5 garlic cloves, crushed

12 ounce bottle of lager beer

2 1/2 cups water

  1. Place the pork on a rimmed plastic cutting board and evenly distribute 2 teaspoons of kosher salt on top of the pork, coating all sides of the pork. Set aside. Allow the pork to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Place the pork into the Instant Pot. Cover the pork with the chilies, garlic, beer, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and water.
  3. Secure the lid on top of the instant pot. Cook with high-pressure for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes of cook time, turn off the Instant Pot. Use the natural pressure release method and release any remaining steam after 15 minutes.
  4. Heat a broiler to 500 degrees.
  5. Place the pork on a rimmed baking sheet. Let the carnitas rest for five minutes.
  6. Lightly shred the carnitas and top with a generous amount of sauce from the Instant Pot.
  7. Place the carnitas in the oven and broil for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the outside of the carnitas becomes lightly browned and crispy. Stir, baste and shred the carnitas every three to four minutes.
  8. Remove the carnitas from the oven.
  9. Meanwhile, using the sauté feature bring the pan sauce to a boil and let boil for 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the sauce from the Instant Pot and place in a container. Bring to room temperature.
  11. Pour some of the remaining sauce over the carnitas to store in an airtight container in the fridge or in the freezer.


Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Author note: Chopped pecans and dried cranberries would also make a nice addition to these baked donuts. These donuts are freezer friendly.

2 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 can pumpkin

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, melted

3 eggs

1/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

canola oil spray

pumpkin spiced glaze, recipe below

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Spray muffin tins with canola oil. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl cream (mix until well incorporated) the pumpkin, sugar and unsalted butter with an electric mixer. Once mixed together, add the eggs one at a time.
  5. Add the milk, sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated.
  6. Add the ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.
  7. Turn off the mixer and fold in the dried cranberries.
  8. Spoon the mixture into mini donut tins, fill halfway. Pound the tin on the countertop to remove any air bubbles.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven once golden and cooked all the way thru. Let the muffins sit in the tins for five minutes, then remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
  10. Once completely cool, dip the tops of the donuts into the pumpkin spiced glaze. If adding sprinkles do so at this point. Place on parchment paper to dry.

pumpkin spiced glaze

2 tablespoons corn syrup

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin spiced creamer

  1. Place all ingredients into medium-sized bowl and mix well.

Vegetable Barley Soup with Carrot Crisps

Vegetable Barley Soup with Carrot Crisps

Author note: The base of this recipe is a homemade vegetable stock that includes carrots, onions, celery, parsley stems and mushroom stalks (which will also be used in the soup itself). It is earthy, rich and hearty. It also pairs beautifully with beef stock and a handful of vegetables, wild mushrooms and barley. This recipe was also featured in The Dallas Morning News, click here to read more and find more root to stem recipes.

for the vegetable barley soup

5 cups homemade vegetable stock, see recipe below

6 cups beef stock

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup barley

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 cup carrots, peeled and cut (save carrot peels for carrot peel crisps)

3 cups shitake mushrooms, stalks removed (save for vegetable stock)

2 cups cabbage, finally shredded

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

carrot peel crisps, for topping, see recipe below

  1. Combine all ingredients into a large pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the barley is cooked.
  2. Add the cabbage and red wine vinegar and warm through for five minutes.
  3. Serve warm topped with carrot peel crisp.

for the vegetable stock

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 carrots, peeled (save carrot peels for carrot peel crisps) and halved

3 celery hearts, halved

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 teaspoon tomato paste

16 cups water

1 cup shitake mushroom stalks

1 head of garlic, halved

parsley stems from half a bundle of fresh parsley

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pan over medium heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot add the carrots, celery and onion. Sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until browned. Stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the water, garlic, parsley stems and mushroom stalks. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for two to three hours.
  5. Strain the stock from the vegetables into a large bowl. Let cool. Place in airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze up to three months.

for the carrot peel crisps

5 cups of carrot peels

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Heat an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the carrot peels into a bowl and toss with the oil and salt.
  3. Place the carrot peels onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until the peels are crisp and browned, stirring the carrots twice to promote even cooking. Serve immediately.

Mini Gruyere and Shallot Frittatas

Mini Gruyere and Shallot Frittatas

Author note: If you want to omit the sautéed shallots in butter, feel free to do so. It saves time and does not affect the overall outcome of the frittatas.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup shallot, chopped

8 eggs

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 cup gruyere, grated

2 tablespoons cream (or whole milk)

lemon zest, for topping (optional)

fresh parsley, chopped, for topping (optional)

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. Place the eggs, salt, dijon, gruyere, sautéed shallots and cream into a medium size bowl. Whisk until combined.
  4. Butter the inside of six small ramekins. Fill each ramekin 3/4 of the way full with the egg mixture.
  5. Place ramekins onto a rimmed baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until eggs are puffy and baked all the way through.
  6. Top with lemon zest and fresh parsley. Serve warm.

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