1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 (4 pound) sugar pumpkin
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (8-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


1. In 2-quart saucepan over high heat, bring water, rice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 to 18 minutes or until rice is tender and all water has been absorbed.
2. Meanwhile, cut top 1/4 off pumpkin. Remove and discard seeds and fibers from pumpkin. Peel and coarsely shred top of pumpkin.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large skillet, sauté beef until no pink remains. Add onion and pepper and cook 5 minutes longer.
4. In large bowl, combine beef mixture, shredded pumpkin, tomatoes, eggs, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, the basil and thyme. Pack into pumpkin. Place pumpkin in roasting pan; add hot water to reach about 1 inch up side of pumpkin. Roast 45 to 55 minutes or until pumpkin is tender and filling is hot through.
5. To serve, remove to cutting board and cut into 6 wedges. Transfer wedges to dinner plates. Divide any loose filling among the plates.

Sugar pumpkins are particularly good for stuffing because they have a thick shell that doesn't lose its shape when roasted.

Pumpkin with Meat Filling
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