Thanksgiving, the ultimate feast day in the United States, is upon us. It seems appropriate for me to revisit the Food category of Jilly’s which is too often neglected. This has been a favorite recipe at my house for many years and now, my friends, I share it with you. There are multiple ways to prepare this dish, so make it your own. It is a beautiful presentation piece on the table, no matter how you prepare the filling. In honor of the spirit of the holiday, I am thankful for all of you, my on-line friends. ~Jilly
1 pie pumpkin – choose a pretty one with a nice stem.
1/2 lb. sausage (I make my own. Use what you most enjoy. A spicy sausage is recommended since the pumpkin and rice will mellow the spice.)
1/2 cup steamed rice (I like Basmati)
1/2 cup steamed wild rice
1 cup mixed vegetables, chopped
1/4 cup croutons
1/2 cup shredded cheese; a sharp Cheddar is my personal choice.
Season with fresh herbs: thyme, sage, rosemary, flat-leaf parsley. Salt & pepper.
Wash the pumpkin & pat dry. Cut the top one-quarter off and clean seeds and strings from the inside. Note: I like to notch the lid so that it doesn’t fall into the pumpkin as it bakes. It also makes it easy to find the ‘fit’. Bake on a cookie sheet at 325 for about 30 minutes, until partially cooked. Prepare the filling while it bakes.
Crumble & brown the sausage. Drain excess fat. Mix all filling ingredients except cheese and herbs. Fill the pumpkin, replacing lid, and bake an additional 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the pumpkin. You want the pumpkin flesh to be tender but the sides still intact for ease of serving. Remove lid and sprinkle cheese and fresh snipped herbs on top of the filling. Spoon out filling being sure to include the cooked pumpkin flesh.