Whenever I hear the word “fall,” my mind goes to two things: colorful leaves and pumpkin everything. Atypically as it may be, the pumpkin dreams aren’t always of lattes or pumpkin bread. Those are delicious and certainly staples on our family’s table, but there’s nothing that makes this season as cozy as a good stuffed pumpkin.
Like a stuffed pepper, stuffed pumpkins make adorable and fun individual servings. This recipe has everything needed for a nutritious and tasty dinner, although a side of steamed green beans or sautéed chard would be fantastic. Sugar baby pumpkins work best. However, as long as you can find individual pumpkins that weigh about a pound each, then this recipe works great regardless of variety.
Use your favorite cornbread recipe to make that ingredient. If you need one, this Dutch oven cornbread is delicious.
Two quick notes on the stock: First, use the amount in the recipe to aid in creating a tender, fall apart pumpkin. Second, homemade is always best. However, if you do need to buy stock, find a low-sodium version to control the salt in the finished dish.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND CORNBREAD STUFFED PUMPKINS
• 2 tablespoons bacon drippings OR olive oil
• 1 large red onion, chopped
• 1-1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
• 3 cups crumbled cornbread
• 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon dried sage
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 4 sugar pumpkins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
3. Heat a large pot over medium heat.
4. Add the bacon drippings and chopped red onion and stir to combine.
5. Cook the onion for about 5-8 minutes until soft and translucent.
6. Add the sausage and cook until fully cooked through and crumbled.
7. While the sausage is cooking, cut the top inch of the pumpkins off, saving the tops.
8. Scoop out and discard the pumpkin seeds, or save to roast for later.
9. When the sausage is cooked through, remove from the heat and stir in the cornbread, spinach, salt, pepper, sage and nutmeg and then stir to combine.
10. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine.
11. Evenly stuff the pumpkins with the stuffing mixture, place the tops back on the pumpkins, and place the pumpkins on the prepared baking sheet.
12. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes, then remove the tops and bake for another 30 minutes.
13. Let the pumpkins cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Arkansas Women Blogger member Heather Disarro is a food-centric lifestyle blogger who is passionate about embracing the beauty that surrounds us in our everyday lives. She is a Texan living the expat life in central Arkansas with her husband, son and two massive dogs. Heather writes her blog, Heather’s Dish, from an office filled with dust, dog fur, toys and plenty of love, grace and music. She revels in the opportunity to bring the love of cooking to the world as a way to love others well!