Pumpkin Stuffed with Chicken and Rice

So Perfect for Autumn

The ultimate one-dish meal is cooked in its own pot-in this case it's a pumpkin. I remember the year we picked a lot of pumpkins on the East End farms for decoration at my restaurant on Long Island. When it came time to use them up, this dish became a very popular item on the menu.

If you like to experiment, toss in some chicpeas, sweetpeas, or slices of smoked sausage when you add the chicken.


Pumpkin Stuffed with Chicken and Rice

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch, Gather Round The Grill cookbook, 1995 | Makes 4 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

2 large pumpkins (8 to 12 inches in diameter)

One 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, cut into rings

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips

1 cup long grain rice

2 1/4 cups chicken broth

Puree from 1 head Caramelized Garlic

2 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons cumin 

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

Preheat the grill.

Using a sharp knife, cut a 5-inch hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Reserve the lid.

Brush the chicken with some if the olive oil and grill about 20 minutes or until three-fourths done. (if using cutlets, grill 4 to 5 minutes.) Brush the onion and red pepper with the remaining olive oil and grill until light brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove onion and peppers and chop ito 1 inch pieces.

In a large saucepan heat the rice and broth. Add the garlic, bay leaves, cilantro, cumin, hot sauce and tomatoes. When the mixture begins to boil, stir in the onion, red bell pepper, and the par-cooked chicken.

Wrap the bottom of the pumpkin with foil. Spoon the mixture into the pumpkin, then cover with the pumpkin lidd. Place the pumpkin on the grill, lower the grill hood, and cook 45 to 50 minutes. Or, cook in a 375 degree F oven. Remove the pumpkin from the grill, place on platter discarding aluminum foil and bay leaves.

Add a little additional broth if the mixture is too dry. Bring the pumpkin to the table and serve the chicken directly from it.

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George’s Cheddar-N-Jack Mac

It's that time of year again; cooler evenings, more events going on and tailgates to organize. That's when I turn to my crowd pleasing Mac-N-Cheese. If you're grilling at a tailgate, you can make my mac-mix ahead. Chill it, then just bake-it right on the grill. It's good time food.

Use my recipe as a guide and feel free to add smoked ham, cooked bacon, grilled chicken or grilled shrimp to make your own home-spin.  


George’s Cheddar & Jack Mac

Makes 6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth

1 4-ounce can diced green chilies

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon hot sauce

pinch fresh grated nutmeg

2 cups half & half

1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Jack cheese, shredded

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 1/2 pounds uncooked elbow, shells, or other small pasta

Melt Butter in a large soup pot or saucepan. Add onion, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add the bay leaves, thyme, diced green chilies, hot sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Stir in the half & half and heat to a simmer. Slowly add the Cheddar, Jack, and Parmesan cheeses, stirring until they melt and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the cooked pasta. Place in a serving dish and eat immediately or sprinkle with Mac Topping, and bake five minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

Optional Additions:

1 cup each Chorizo, chopped plum tomatoes

For the Mac Topping

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

6 Tablespoons bread crumbs

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1 Tablespoon each fresh cilantro & parsley, chopped

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

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Sunday Supper + Autumn Farm Experience

Looking forward to you joining me for a fun flavorful afternoon and worthwhile cause. Limited tickets available online at EVENTBRITE, Sunday Supper + Autumn Farm Experience

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