Stuffed Pumpkins

People have lots of different things they appreciate about fall, mine is pumpkins. I just love them. And best of all, with the cute little ones, they are perfect for eating. Yes, eating! Pumpkins are a type of squash, so you will eat the orange flesh of the pumpkin, (not the outside rind).  For me, stuffed pumpkin as the main course and a slice of pumpkin pie for dessert is not too much pumpkin! This week will be the main course. This is one of my favorite savory pumpkin recipes.

This is a wee bit involved, but I find it is well worth the effort,  make enough to enjoy for a few meals. Adjust the proportions to the amount you want to make.

Ingredients (most are available at the market)
this will serve 8  if you cut the pumpkins in half to serve
4 small pie pumpkins
1# sausage (or Italian sausage, if you want the spice)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 c. quartered cherry tomatoes
1 c. cooked beans, kidney or black
1 c. corn, cooked
1 c. chopped zucchini
1 1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1 c. shredded monterey jack cheese

Directions
Wash the pumpkins, slice off the top (do not boil the tops, save for the baking step), scoop out membranes and seeds (save seeds to roast for use another time)
Using a large cooking pot, parboil the pumpkins in boiling water for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. They need to hold their shape, not collapse when you remove them from the water. Once tender, remove from the water, draining out the water from the inside. Set aside until filling is ready.
While the pumpkins are parboiling, brown the sausage in a large skillet. Once browned, remove sausage from skillet, set aside. Drain grease from the skillet.
In same skillet, saute onion & celery, once sauteed, add everything else, except the cheese and mix together.
Fill pumpkins 1/2 way with prepared stuffing, layer on 1/4 cheese, then again add stuffing and top with cheese.
Put on the top, Grease outside of pumpkins with cooking oil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Any stuffing that did not fit in the pumpkins can be baked in a separate dish or saved and used in a myriad of ways later in the week: fill a zucchini boat or an acorn squash, serve with a cooked egg on top for breakfast…

This is gluten free, can be vegetarian if you do not use the sausage (try substituting tofu, if you’d like)