This recipe is a great way to use a pumpkin up after scooping out the seeds to bake. It is so delicious and fancy enough to serve to guests.—Christin Holt, Kingsburg, California
- 1 large pumpkin (5-1/2 to 6 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups cooked rice
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fully cooked ham
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
- Wash pumpkin; cut a 6-in. circle around top stem. Remove top and set aside; discard seeds and loose fibers from inside. Place pumpkin in a large Dutch oven. Fill with boiling water to a depth of 6 in.; add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is almost tender but holds its shape. Carefully remove and drain well; pat dry.
- In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain well. Cool slightly; place in a large bowl. Add rice, tomato sauce, ham, eggs, garlic, oregano, pepper, vinegar and remaining salt.
- Place pumpkin in a shallow sturdy baking pan. Firmly pack beef mixture into pumpkin; replace top. Leaving pan uncovered, bake at 350° for 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the top; if desired, use paper towel to remove excess moisture from top of meat. Slice pumpkin into wedges. Yield: 6-8 servings.
Originally published as Stuffed Pumpkin Dinner in Birds & Blooms October/November 1996, p55
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