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.

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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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Apple Pumpkin Crumb Muffins

Seems like yesterday I was driving home from the beach (OK, it was yesterday). But then I passed one of my local farm fields filled with pumpkins. So ready-or-not the season has changed. At home I can still enjoy the best of both seasons on the farm and all the goodness from the farm. 

George Hirsch Seps Farm Basket

We will soon say goodbye to summer's tomatoes and corn. But, Autumn is one of my favorite food seasons. So let's get fall started; here's my seasonal spin on the average apple muffin - add pumpkin and crumb. Great to take on-the-go too. Enjoy!

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Apple Pumpkin Crumb Muffins

Makes 18 muffins or 9 x 13 coffee cake 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

For the crumb topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup flour 

3/4 cup oats, not quick cooking

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 cup melted butter 

Mix all sugars, flour, oats and nuts. Pour in butter and mix until topping looks like wet sand. Do not over mix; topping should have a lumpy consistency. Reserve crumb topping and prepare muffin batter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

For the muffins:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour; or 50/50 whole wheat flour

2 cups pure cane granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 

3/4 teaspoon ginger 

Pinch allspice & fresh grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup applesauce, or vegetable oil 

2 cups Green or baking apples, peeled, core and chopped into small pieces 

In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to until flour is absorbed. Add chopped apples. 

Add batter into prepared muffin cups 3/4 filled. Top each muffin with crumb mixture and bake.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

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