Fill sweet pumpkins with this delicious rice pilaf before roasting. It makes a stunning side dish and can also be enjoyed as a turkey stuffing! Roasted pie pumpkins with wild rice, apple & kale stuffing is a great way to take advantage of pumpkin season and serve a beautiful fall festive meal.
- 2 small pie pumpkins
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola or olive oil, for cooking
- 4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock or water
- 1 cup (250 mL) wild rice
- 1 cup (250 mL) brown rice
- 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) salt
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots or raisins
- 1/3 cup (85 mL) butter or oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 tart apple, cored and diced
- 3-4 kale leaves, roughly chopped (discard stems)
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) finely chopped fresh sage (or 1 tsp. dried)
- 2 tsp. (10 mL) finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
- 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
- For the pumpkins:
- Prepare the pumpkins by cutting off the top – cut it flat, right where the pumpkin curves in, so that you maximize the open area. Scoop out the seeds and stingy insides with a spoon, discarding them.
- Drizzle inside the pumpkin with oil and use your hands to rub it all over the inside to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Microwave for 5-10 minutes, until the pumpkin flesh is just tender, but not too soft.
- For the stuffing:
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring the stock or water to a simmer in a large saucepan; add the rice and salt, reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork, adding the cranberries.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter or oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion and celery until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apple and kale and cook for a few more minutes, until the apples begin to soften and the kale wilts. Add to the rice mixture along with the sage, thyme, pepper and pecans.
- Use the mixture to stuff the prepared pumpkins, filling them as much as you can. Cover loosely with foil and return to the oven for about 30 minutes, until heated through. To serve, cut into wedges and serve each wedge with a spoonful of the rice pilaf.
Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of 7 best-selling cookbooks. She’s the food and nutrition guide on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One, the food editor of Parents Canada magazine, and a columnist and contributor for several other local and national publications, including Western Living, Swerve, the Calgary Herald, Avenue magazine and City Palate. She is perhaps best known as the voice behind her blog, DinnerwithJulie.com, which documents life in her home kitchen in Calgary with her husband and 9 year old son.