1 medium pumpkin, about 1kg
500g lean minced beef
4 cloves garlic – peeled & minced
Dullop of extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion , peeled and finely chopped
2 tomatoes – chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
chilli flakes, salt, freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup of basmati rice
200g dried apricots
50 g shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup of water
Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/gas 8. Cut the lid off the pumpkin and reserve it. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and keep them to one side. You can make a lovely snack from seeds by rosting them with chili, salt & red pepper. Make the hollow where the seeds were a little bigger by scooping out some more pumpkin flesh. Chop this pumpkin flesh. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Pour in a splash of olive oil, then add the chopped onion and garlic and fry for about 3 mins. Then add the minced meat, pumpkin, tomatoes, seasoning and half the rosemary. Cook gently for 15 minutes or so until the pumpkin has softened and minced meat has cooked (but not browned).
Meanwhile, mix extra virgin olive oil with cinnamon, nutmed, chilli powder & salt and then rub the inside and outside of the pumpkin with it. Place the pumpkin in the oven and cook for 20mins.
Whilst the pumpkin is baking, add water, rice and dried apricots to the pumpkin mix and mix thoroughly. Bring the mix to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes (no longer or the rice will end up overcooked later).
Take the pumpkin out of the oven. Tear off a sheet of tin foil that’s large enough to wrap the pumpkin in a double layer and lay on top of a baking tray. Place the pumpkin on top and spoon the meat & rice mixture into it, then place its lid back on. Wrap it up in the foil and bake in the oven for about an hour. The pumpkin is ready when you can easily push a knife into it. Bring it to the table and open it up in front of everyone to marvel at. Scoop out the filling and cut the pumpkin wall down as you go.