- 1 cup white rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, stripped from the stem and thinly sliced
- 1 sugar pie pumpkin, about 3 pounds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 pound cheese, such as swiss or Emmenthal, into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
- About 1 cup milk
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Cook rice, per package directions. Set aside to cool slightly (this can certainly be made a day or so in advance)
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a large sautée pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then place onion and cook until opaque and slightly browned. Scoop onion into a large bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the second tablespoon of oil, and when hot, add the kale and season with salt and pepper (it’s okay if the kale is still a bit wet from being washed). Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until all the water has evaporated and the kale has softened. Add about 1/4 cup of water and cover pan. Let kale steam for about 5-7 minutes, again until the water has evaporated and the kale is quite tender. Remove lid and cook for a few minutes longer. When fully cooked, add to bowl with onions.
- Add rice and cheese to kale/onion mixture. Stir well, taste, and add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a sturdy knife, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Cut off enough of the top to make it easy to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin.
- Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet.
- Pack the pumpkin with the rice mixture – I like to stuff it in there pretty solidly.
- Pour in milk, with the intent of having everything nicely moistened. I usually pour it in slowly, and once I can see a bit of milk not absorbing at the top, I know it’s done
- Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours — check after 90 minutes — or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
- When the pumpkin is ready, carefully — it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly — bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter. Enjoy!
- Don’t be tempted to take the pumpkin out of the oven early! Otherwise you’ll be eating semi-raw pumpkin for dinner. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, it can take longer than 2 hours.
- I often have leftover “stuffing,” which is still tasty, even without the pumpkin
- Category: Dinner