Healthy Living

Kristi Whitley

HOLIDAY STUFFED PUMPKIN

This makes a festive main dish for a holiday meal. Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy, assorted vegetables, salad and bread or rolls.

Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 6-8

1 loaf whole grain gluten free bread, cut into cubes
3 cups vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon marjoram
1-2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
several twists of fresh ground pepper to taste
1 medium pumpkin or large winter squash

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Place the broth, onions, celery and seasonings in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the top off the pumpkin or winter squash and save for a cover (as if you were going to make a jack-o-lantern). Clean out the seeds and stringy portion, leaving plenty of the squash flesh along the sides. Rinse well and set aside.

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl, pour the cooked broth over the bread and toss well until bread is saturated with the liquid. Cover the bowl and allow liquid to be absorbed for about 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings (adding more poultry seasoning and ground pepper, if needed).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the stuffing into the cleaned pumpkin and cover with the pumpkin top. Place in a large baking dish. Add 1 inch of water to the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until fork pierces the side of the pumpkin easily. Serve as the main dish for your holiday celebration, scraping some of the pumpkin out with every scoop of the stuffing.

Hints: To save some time, cube the bread the night before and allow it to sit uncovered in a single layer overnight. This will eliminate the need to bake the bread cubes in the oven for 15 minutes. Use a specialty pumpkin for more flavor and moisture.  Traditional Halloween pumpkins tend to be rather dry and stringy inside.  There are many choices available in most markets at this time of year.