8-10 mini pumpkins
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground pork sausage
3/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 cup portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup Brown Basmati Rice
1 cup Parmesan, shredded
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
Slice the tops off the mini pumpkins. Scoop out the seeds and set them aside. Rub the pumpkins and tops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkins (with their tops on) on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkins are just tender.
While you are roasting the pumpkins, spread the seeds on a separate baking sheet. Leave them in the oven for about 10 minutes to get them nice and toasty.
Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook it well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain off the grease and set the sausage aside.
In the same pan, add the onions and mushrooms. Cook until tender. Add the apple cider to the pan. Deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom with a wood spoon. Then add the thyme. Cook until the liquid is slightly reduced (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine 1 cup Brown Basmati rice with 2 ¼ cups water and salt to taste in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 35 to 40 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes with the lid still on
In a large bowl, combine the sausage, onion, mushrooms, dried cranberries, rice, and 3/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese.
Transfer the pumpkin bottoms to a large cast-iron pan. Set the tops aside.
Stuff the pumpkins with the sausage, rice, and cranberry mixture. Heap the mixture on top of each pumpkin. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and roasted pumpkin seeds.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkins are soft and the stuffing is heated through.
Serve hot and place the pumpkin tops* back on the pumpkins.
*The tops can be warmed up on the same baking sheet by placing them in the oven for a few minutes before serving. They are mostly decorative.