Christmas Roast Butternut Pumpkin Stuffed with Wild Rice


Serves 8 | Prep 30 mins | Cook 60mins

Not only does it cater for just about every dietary requirement (vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free), you can also create it a day in advance so that's less time in the kitchen on Christmas Day. Yay!

What you will need:

For the pumpkin:

  • 1 large butternut pumpkin, washed and halved lengthways
  • Kitchen twine to tie pumpkin

For the wild rice:

  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 3 cups vegetable stock liquid
  • ½ tsp salt

For the stuffing:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or saute in 1/3 cup water instead for an oil free version)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp baby capers, drained
  • 1/3 cup tamari almonds, chopped (or you can use plain roasted almonds)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped (plus a stem of fresh sage leaves to garnish pumpkin)
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (plus more to taste)

For the gravy:

  • 4 cups vegetable stock liquid
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place pumpkin halves cut side up on the baking tray and bake for about 45 minutes (depending on pumpkin size), until just tender. Do not overcook as it will bake for another 15 minutes at the end.
  2. Place all wild rice ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until al dente. Drain excess water.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pine nuts and toast for 2-3 minutes, moving constantly, until they start to turn golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl.
  4. For the stuffing – in the same large saucepan, heat the olive oil (or water) over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrot and celery to the pan and sauté until veggies start to soften and brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add splashes of water to the pan if the veggies start to stick.
  5. Add the pine nuts, almonds, capers, cranberries, sage, dried rosemary, salt and pepper to the saucepan and mix well to combine. Remove from heat.
  6. When rice is cooked, drain well and add to the veggie mixture. Mix well to combine.
  7. When butternut pumpkin is just tender remove it from the oven. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Leaving a 2cm border, scoop out the pumpkin flesh of both halves. Roughly chop the flesh and stir it through the rice mixture. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Using a spoon, tightly pack the rice mixture into the pumpkin halves, piling it high (there will be some stuffing leftovers so you can enjoy it the next day).
  8. Carefully pick up one half of the pumpkin and flip it on top of the other half. To hold it together, tie it up in 3 or 4 places with kitchen twine (if you are making this a day or two ahead you can let the pumpkin cool at this point, then cover and refrigerate). Otherwise, return pumpkin to oven and roast a further 15-20 minutes until heated through. Prior to serving, decorate the pumpkin by tucking the fresh sage stem under the kitchen twine.
  9. For the gravy – add all gravy ingredients to a saucepan. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Reduce heat to medium and allow gravy to rapidly simmer for a few minutes until it thickens. Add black pepper, to taste. Gravy should be nice and pourable; add a splash of water to thin if necessary.
  10. Because the pumpkin is tender and in separate halves, carve one slice and use a wide spatula to transfer it to a dining plate before carving the next. Serve with lashings of gravy. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If you have made the pumpkin in advance, simply take it out of the fridge and allow it to return to room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in a 180C (350F) oven to heat through for 30 minutes.
  • Gravy recipe makes 5 cups. If making gravy in advance, allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat gravy, simply warm in the microwave or in a saucepan over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. You’ll need to add some water to make it pourable again as it will have thickened in the fridge.

 

Recipe and image credit: weareearthcollective.com.au


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