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  • Writer's picturechefalisonbiebs

Caramelized Onion and Pork Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

I found these cute mini pumpkins on a farmers market trip over the weekend and couldn't resist picking a few for stuffing!

I use ground pork shoulder and good quality pork stock in this recipe to give the filling a richness that compliments roasted squash's delicious, soft, and slightly sweet flesh.

The filling for this recipe is versatile and can be paired with many different types of squash.

Chef notes:

You may also want to try using the filling as a stuffing for cabbage rolls instead of pumpkins. Happy cooking!

Yield: 4–6 mini pumpkins; depending on the size.

Preparation time: 1–1½ hours

Cook time: 1–1½ hours

1 lb pork shoulder

3 tbsp canola oil; alternatively you can use rendered pork fat or bacon fat in this recipe

2 yellow onions, diced small

2 small carrots (¾ cup), diced small

1 stick of celery (¼ cup), diced small

2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin

½ cup white wine

½ cup white rice

2½ cups good quality pork stock

2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

4–6 mini pumpkin

Fresh cracked black pepper

Salt to taste

  • Preheat an oven to 375°F.

  • Using a sharp knife, chop the pork shoulder into fine dice. Alternatively, you can use a meat grinder or buy already ground pork. I prefer the texture of the meat when hand-chopped.

  • Pour 2 tablespoons of canola oil into a large frying pan and heat on medium.

  • Add the onions and saute until they start to brown.

  • Add the carrots and celery, turn the heat down, and cook. Stir often until the vegetables are dark golden brown and caramelized.

  • Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.

  • Remove the vegetables from the pan and set them aside.

  • Place the pan back on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and the chopped pork.

  • Cook the pork until it starts to become golden brown, stir occasionally for even browning.

  • Now, deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated.

  • Add the vegetables back into the pan with the rice and fresh thyme and stir.

  • Pour in the pork stock and turn the heat to a low simmer. I mention using good quality pork stock because the gelatin from the bones should give you a nice consistency in the sauce once it cooks and reduces.

  • Cook until the rice is half cooked and the stock has reduced to a sauce-like consistency, about 15 minutes.

  • Turn the heat off and pour the mixture into a mixing bowl.

  • Let it cool slightly then mix in the parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Cut the tops off the mini pumpkins and scoop out all the seeds. Place the tops and hollowed-out squash onto a baking tray.

  • Fill the pumpkins with the pork filling and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes. The pumpkins should feel soft when slightly squeezed or poked with a sharp pairing knife easily inserted and removed.

  • Remove the stuffed pumpkins from the oven and serve.


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