This recipe can be made with a pumpkin or any large squash or several smaller ones like the munchkin pumpkins. The rice recipe is from the Moro cookbook and they use the saffron rice to stuff a butterflied leg of lamb, because it is fragrant and deliciously flavours the meat, but as I don’t really eat meat I thought it would be fantastic as a stuffing for a squash or pumpkin. It also looks amazing as a centre piece on the dinner table, and would be delicious roast potatoes and a salad or any roast. I love it with garlicky yogurt and have just discovered Alpro are doing a vegan Greek yogurt in Morrison’s which is utterly delicious.
I adore sweet and savoury flavours together and this recipe from The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking nails this perfectly. I have tweaked it a bit because the first time I cooked them the cooking apples burst and so I had to start again even though they tasted amazing, so I went with Braeburn apples instead. I have also added more pine nuts and currants as I thought the recipe needed it and replaced the sugar with maple syrup as it’s low GI and used basmati rice. They are perfect as a side to a roast instead of stuffing or cold with a salad.
This really delicious stuffed pumpkin tastes and looks amazing, it makes a fantastic center piece on the table for a vegetarian dinner, Sunday lunch, Christmas or Halloween. If pumpkin isn’t in season you can use any large squash or vegetable that you can stuff. It’s packed with nuts and fruit, is perfumed with saffron and based on a traditional Turkish recipe from a cookbook by Ghillie Basan but I’ve made it a bit easier. It’s great with roast potatoes and all the trimmings of a traditional roast dinner instead of turkey or even with turkey or you can stay traditional and serve it with other middle eastern dishes and salads, it’s also perfect with labneh with garlic in it.
This is my version of mujaddara which is a delicious spicy dish of lentils, rice and caramelised onions with parsley which dates all the way back to a recipe book written in 1226 from Iraq. It is served in restaurants from Egypt to Isreal and is delicious served with a salad, chopped cucumbers and with plain yogurt or labneh. It is served at room temperature so it’s perfect for preparing in advance for a dinner or picnic. You can serve it with a green salad and or with meat or fish. It’s a staple round mine.
Serves 4-6 depending on what you serve it with.
2 x 250g bags of cooked brown basmati rice (supermarket)
1 x 400g tin or carton of green or brown lentils
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground coriander
¼ -½ teaspoon of chilli powder
2 minced garlic cloves
2-3 finely sliced large red onions
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 lemons zested and cut into wedges for squeezing
big bunch of roughly chopped parsley
Salt to taste