Mini-pumpkins with sausage, rice and veggies
celery, brown onion,
bulk breakfast sausage,
crushed sage leaves,
crushed leaf oregano
Additional ingredients: olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh oregano and fresh sage for garnish.
Wash and dry mini-pumpkins.
With a sharp knife, slice off the tops of the pumpkins, right under the stems. Scoop out the seeds and scrape the inside edges with a spoon, until a smooth surface is achieved.
Place the pumpkins and their tops on a baking tray. The flesh ends of the top of the pumpkins should be facing upwards on the tray.
Brush the inside and the tops of the pumpkins with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Roast in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
Add 3 cups of basmati rice and 4 cups of chicken broth to a large pan. Cover and bring to a boil, turning heat to low until all the broth has evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
While the rice is cooking, prepare 1 1/2 cups chopped brown onion, 1 cup minced celery and 8 ounces of Portobello mushrooms, chopped. Set aside.
n a medium skillet, sauté 8 slices of chopped bacon just until browned. Add one pound of bulk breakfast sausage to the same pan, cooking until both bacon and sausage are cooked through.
Remove the bacon and the sausage from the skillet, leaving behind 2 tablespoons of the grease. Set the bacon-sausage mixture aside, keeping warm.
Add onion and celery to the skillet; after 5 minutes, add mushrooms. Sauté until all vegetables are tender.
Add 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, 1/2 cup chopped dried apples, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1 teaspoon crushed sage leaves and 1 teaspoon crushed leaf oregano to the celery-mushroom mixture. Continue to sauté until the fruit is softened, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl combine cooked rice, sausage-bacon mixture and celery-fruit mixture.
If the mixed rice appears dry, add chicken broth in 1/4-cup increments. Mix well.
Use the rice mixture to fill roasted pumpkins.
Place stuffed pumpkins on a large platter and serve warm.