The “one-pot” dinner is both festive and unexpectedly flavorful. Kinnaird uses brown basmati rice for its sturdy grain and fragrant, nutty character. The ground pork gets an umami boost from a combination of soy sauce and brown sugar, while basil and shishito peppers offer a kick of freshness and heat.
1 small to medium pumpkin (about 8-10 inches tall)
3 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups brown basmati rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 shishito peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced into thin rounds
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ pounds ground pork
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup raw cashews
2 cups fresh basil leaves, sliced thin, divided
Additional kosher salt or soy sauce for seasoning
Cut off the top of the pumpkin and thoroughly clean out seeds and pulp.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Bring the water, salt, and rice to a boil in a large pot.
Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and let the rice simmer.
Cook for about 35 minutes until all water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork.
While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saute pan over medium-high heat.
Add the onion, peppers, ginger, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
Add the ground pork to the pan, breaking it up into small pieces and cooking until no longer pink.
Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and coconut milk to the pan, stirring to combine. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes over low heat.
Stir in the cooked rice, water chestnuts, cashews, and 1 ½ cups basil. Season with additional salt or soy sauce, if desired.
Spoon the mixture into the cleaned pumpkin shell.
Transfer the filled pumpkin to a parchment-lined baking sheet and replace the pumpkin lid.
Place the baking sheet in the oven, adjusting racks as needed.
Bake the pumpkin for 1 hour until the shell is tender and the filling is heated through.
Remove from oven and transfer to a platter.
Serve the pumpkin filling in bowls, mixing in a bit of the pumpkin flesh from inside the shell.
Garnish each serving with remaining sliced basil, and enjoy right away.