Bolognese Stuffed Pumpkin

Pumpkin season, it is here loud and proud and I am absolutely loving it. It is warm, snuggly, the perfect excuse for a myriad of pumpkin flavoured baked goods and clichés, and I can’t get enough of it. Whilst I’d love to eat pumpkin cakes, pies and various other treats all day long, sometimes one has to eat nutritional savoury food and here is pumpkin recipe for just that. I’ll share my Bolognese recipe here but feel free to use your own or substitute for anything else you might want to stuff your pumpkin with, chili con carne or perhaps a vegetarian option. There is something lovely about presenting a dinner whole, in its own skin.

Stuffed pumpkin

It’s not very pretty but it sure was delicious! I tend not to eat the skin and prefer the peel the flesh away once it is on the plate, it is perfectly edible though, should you desire to eat it.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • 1 medium/large pumpkin or 4 small pumpkins. Any will do, I used a crown prince squash here, patty pans or other gourds would work just as well.
  • 500g of lean steak mince
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil (or coconut oil – paleo option)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small red onions, chopped
  • 0.5 tsp of dried basil
  • 0.5 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 0.25 tsp of dried oregano
  • 0.25 tsp of dried thyme
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 glug (or two) of red wine
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 1 aubergine, finely diced
  • 2 peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup of stock (vegetable/chicken/beef)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Grated cheese
  • Salt & pepper, to season

Method:

I like to make my Bolognese and allow it to simmer for a few hours. The pumpkin takes an hour in itself to cook, so I’ll leave the order up to you.

Preparing the Bolognese:

  1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan with the garlic and onion, on a medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, add the mince and stir until browned.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, red wine, herbs, cocoa, stock and bay leaf and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the vegetables and season.
  5. Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour, more if you have the time. 20-30 minutes before finishing, remove the lid to reduce the sauce, you want a nice thick sauce. Remove the bay leaf before serving/spooning into pumpkins.
  6. Prepare your pumpkin (see below).

Preparing the pumpkin(s):

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cut a large hole out around the top of the pumpkin and then scoop out the seeds. Set the seeds aside to wash and dry later, so that you can grow your own pumpkins next year!
  3. Rub the inside of the pumpkin and its lid with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Place both parts on a baking tray in the oven, flesh sides up, for 1 hour, if using a large pumpkin or 30 minutes, if using small pumpkins. You may have to empty the pumpkin of liquid at the end of cooking.
  5. Fill the pumpkin with (hot) Bolognese and sprinkle with grated cheese. Save any left over Bolognese sauce for another day or if people want some more once served.
  6. Place in the oven until the cheese has melted.
  7. Cut in to 4 (if using one large pumpkin) and serve.

Stuffed pumkpin sliced

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