Recipe courtesy of Dawn Bergner

Jack O'Lantern Stew

I first had this dinner 42 years ago when I went to my first Halloween Party. It was originally called Grandma's Stuff in a Pumpkin, but that doesn't sound very scary. When my own kids started having Halloween parties, I began making this for them, with a little tweaking. I have also bought small pumpkins and made individual servings for each child at the party, it doesn't take that much longer to do, and the kids loved drawing the faces on their pumpkins and watched while I did the carving. My oldest son is now 21, and starting a cooking career - last October he called me and begged for this recipe. This is now a 3rd generation favorite- and who knows- may be passed onto more.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

1 (9 to 12-inch) pumpkin

1 large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

1 red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

4 carrots, thinly sliced into rounds

3 celery sticks, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound ground chicken or turkey

2 cups cooked rice (instant is okay)

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 large can tomato soup

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Rinse well. Carve a spooky face onto the pumpkin, without going all the way through the flesh. Rinse well, oil outside of pumpkin. Bake the pumpkin shell for 30 minutes.
  3. While shell is baking: saute the onion, green and red peppers, carrots, celery, and garlic until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Brown ground beef and chicken. Add the veggies and cooked rice and cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  4. Remove pumpkin from oven and let stand 15 minutes. Stir the tomatoes and soup into the meat mixture. Place meat mixture into pumpkin. Put back in oven for 20 minutes. Serve on a platter with cheesy biscuits- -very yummy.