Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving?? Who’s excited? Who’s dreading it? Who can’t wait until the holiday season is over??
As festive and fun this time of the year can be, it can be quite stressful for many of us. Well, I’m actually quite stoked for Thanksgiving this year, because we are celebrating it in Hawaii with my parents! If you didn’t know, they both live in Korea now, so it’s always a good time for me when I’m able to see them once or twice a year. I’m not sure if I’ll be cooking or going out to eat, or what we’ll be even doing, but I’m excited to be somewhere warm and sunny!
Anyway, just because I may or may not be cooking this Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the staple dishes earlier so I can share it with you folks! So here’s a delicious and beautiful stuffed pumpkin recipe that’ll wow your guests when they see it on dinner table. What’s it stuffed with, you ask? Stuffing! Hence the name: Stuffing Stuffed Pumpkin. Say that 5 times fast.
I found these mini pumpkins at the farmers market, and they weren’t labeled. After doing some internet search, I believe these are golden nugget pumpkins. If you believe that they are another variety, then let me know below! They are definitely not sweet enough to be sugar pumpkins even though they do look a bit like them.
If you can’t find these types of pumpkins, you can use other kinds. You can even stuff the stuffing in one large pumpkin, but you would have to increase the cooking time. The world is your oyster. I love how festive and delicious this dish came out, and it’s such a fun way to serve stuffing on Thanksgiving. If you are starting your menu planning, make sure to include this one because everyone will love it!
1 lb Italian pork or chicken sausage, casing removed
4 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
½ fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chicken broth
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ cup chopped almonds
2 large eggs
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a sharp knife, carefully cut out a circle on top of the pumpkin(s) making a lid as you would to carve a Jack O' Lantern. Remove the seeds and any loose strings, then generously sprinkle salt and pepper inside the pumpkins. Place the pumpkins on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Heat ghee or coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
Add diced onions to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and translucent.
Add the sausage and brown, stirring occasionally and breaking it into crumbles with a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the cooked onions and sausage into a large mixing bowl.
Add carrots, celery, cranberries, garlic, chicken broth, and balsamic vinegar to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and simmer until the liquid is evaporate, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables in the bowl with onions and sausage. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes, then add chopped walnuts.
Whisk together eggs, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper, then pour over the stuffing mixture. Stir well.
Transfer the stuffing into the pumpkin(s), filling up to the top.**
Place the lid on top of the pumpkin(s), and transfer to the oven.
Bake until the pumpkin skin is soft, about 45 minutes - 2 hours depending on the size of your pumpkin.
**If there is leftover stuffing, bake in a small dish with the pumpkins covered with aluminum foil.
If there’s something I miss this time of year, it’s my mom’s Korean pumpkin soup (hobakjuk, in Korean). Pumpkin soup in Korea is quite popular and there are many different variations of it, depending on whose house you go to. This comfort food is a bit sweet, quite thick, and warms your bones. It tastes like home to me, and I remember eating bowl after bowl of this delicious soup on a chilly day.
You might think that the Korean version of pumpkin soup might be much different than a regular pumpkin soup, but it’s actually quite simple. To make an authentic version, you have to use kabocha squash which is the common squash in Korea (and they are my favorite type!). However, if you can’t find it, butternut or acorn squash will suffice.
One thing that sticks out about hobakjuk is that there are these white rice balls, made with sweet rice flour, that are cooked in the soup that are sticky and chewy like mochi. While I do eat rice on occasion, I thought it would be fun to make a grain-free and paleo version of these balls, and they turned out like the real thing!
If you are unfamiliar with sticky rice cakes from Asia, you might not love these balls or it may take time to get used to. If you aren’t into it, feel free to leave them out! The soup itself is delicious on its own. You can also add in meat and other veggies if you choose to, but traditionally, Koreans eat the soup plain on its own. Hope you enjoy this flavorful and healthy soup on chilly days to come!
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Korean Pumpkin Soup with Sticky "Rice" Balls (Hobakjuk)
Cut the squash in half, then peel and seed it. Cut the squash into 2 inch pieces.
Place the squash in a saucepan with 2 cups of water.
Let the whole thing come to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
While the squash is simmering, make the "rice" balls using the instructions below.
Once the squash is cooked through and soft, use an immersion blender to blend everything together until creamy. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can transfer the contents into a regular blender to blend. Bring back to heat.
In a bowl, whisk together tapioca starch and ¼ cup of water, then stir the mixture well into the soup to thicken.
Add salt and honey, and bring back to boil.
Add rice balls and cook on boil for 5 minutes, while stirring constantly.
Remove from heat to serve. Top with pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. You can add more salt or honey, to taste, depending on your taste buds.
In a bowl combine all ingredients and stir until a dough is formed. Add more water if the dough is too dry. Make small balls with the dough, about ½ inch wide. Set aside until ready to cook.
It was in the 80s all weekend over here (I even laid out at the pool!) so it seems strange to see all the Fall recipes popping up on my Instagram feed. However, I will not pass up a chance to get started on my pumpkin craze, and decided to open up my first can of pumpkin of the season. I thought about making my paleo pumpkin pie, but realized there’s no way I’m turning on the oven in this heat. Which is how these mini pumpkin tarts were born!
If you love pumpkin pie like me, you will love this recipe. These pumpkin tarts are a smaller version of pumpkin pie (they are muffin sized—so cute!), without needing to be baked in the oven. I love how quickly they came together. They are best eaten chilled, straight out of the refrigerator so I love that I can still enjoy Fall flavors in this heat!