I have pumpkins hidden all over the house.
You might think I’m kidding, I assure you, I am not.
There are little decorative pumpkins hidden on the new shelves in our living room, a pie pumpkin on the desk in my office, and heirlooms on the front porch. I tend to be a minimalist in most areas of my life, but pumpkin collection is one thing that I take almost to hoarding levels.
Of course, I have to rotate the stash occasionally. Out with the old and in with some new. And by out with the old I mean it’s time for them to be transformed into something edible. This little pie pumpkin was tucked on the second shelf of the plant stand in the dining room and it was his time to go.
I’m well stocked with pumpkin puree, but I had some ground turkey in the fridge that needed to be cooked. So I started thinking about stuffing for the little guy. Cheddar is one of my favorite partners for savory pumpkin so I made a super simple sharp cheddar sauce. The spinach came into play because it always does when I think I need to get in a few more greens, or balance the presence of extra cheese.
Basil was the herb of choice. Not only because I love its flavor with pumpkin and cheddar, but the plant I cut back a few months ago has returned to a monstrous size. I’ve never grown basil quite like what has grown for me here in the Central Valley and I’m not complaining.
Once the pumpkin bakes up nice and tender you can scoop it out with the creamy, cheesy turkey and eat all the tasty flavors in one bite. It’s not too cheesy though, the meal still errs on the side of healthy and filling.
Stuffed Pie Pumpkin with Turkey, Cheddar and Spinach
Makes: 2 to 3 servings
What you’ll need:
1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pie pumpkin, halved and seeds removes
Olive oil, salt and pepper for the pumpkin
How to make it:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Brown the turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook until the turkey is no longer pink, 3 to 4 more minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook just until it wilts. Remove the turkey and vegetables from the skillet.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk into a paste with the oil. Reduce the heat to medium and slowly pour in the stock as you continue to whisk. Cook until it thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of cheese and stir until melted.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the turkey and vegetables back in. Add the basil, salt, and black pepper and stir well.
Place the pumpkin halves cut side up in a baking dish. Rub with olive oil and light sprinkled the inside with salt and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of turkey filling into each pumpkin half. Sprinkle each with an equal amount of the remaining cheese.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the pumpkin is very tender. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.