Turkey in Baked Pumpkin
- 2 to 3 (3 pound) pumpkins or winter squash, such as Hubbard or Kabocha
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds turkey thigh meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 Poblano chiles, seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large tomato, seeded and finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup corn kernels (about 2 ears)
- 2 large pears, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 6 dried apricots, quartered, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes and drained.
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1/2 cup long grain white rice, soaked for 1 hour and drained
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut a slice off the top of the pumpkins or squash to make a lid, then scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers from the pumpkin and lid. Season the inside with salt and pepper and place a tablespoon of butter inside each pumpkin. Place the pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over moderate heat and saute the turkey cubes until they are golden on all sides. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the turkey to a plate and cover loosely. In the remaining fat, saute the onion and Poblanos with the salt and pepper until onions are soft, 35 minutes. Add the tomato and cook 20 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the turkey, along with the stock. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Add the potatoes and parsnips and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the corn and stir well to combine. Remove from the heat and add the pears, apricots and chives. Adjust the seasoning. Add the rice. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to the pumpkin, filling the pumpkin and replacing the lid. Return to the oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.
To serve, transfer the pumpkin to a serving platter and carefully spoon the stew directly from the pumpkin into individual shallow bowls. Watch that the pumpkin shell does not break when scooping. The pumpkin will be very soft inside and mash into the sauce to thicken it a little.
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