Cooking at Home: Holiday Rice Pilaf in a Pumpkin Bowl

with Chef Robert Larios
Photography by Patricia M. Larios

Turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkins are all part of the great American tradition of the Thanksgiving feast. This month’s recipe calls for these ingredients, but I have added a few additional ingredients – brown rice, aandouille sausage and almonds, of all things.

The pumpkin in this recipe is not so much an ingredient but more of a decorative piece as it will form a bowl to hold the pilaf — very much like a sourdough bread bowl with chili or clam chowder. You are free to use other types of squash or other sizes of pumpkin as well to serve as your decorative bowl.

The addition of the almonds adds a crunchy texture to the pilaf – I prefer to use slices of almonds, which can be bought at most stores.

It is hard to find meals that will add to a mouth-watering experience while adding to ambiance of the holiday. But this one surely does, and it will clearly be the talk at the Thanksgiving table.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

¡Buen provecho!

Holiday Rice Pilaf in a Pumpkin Bowl

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Food Lover’s Dictionary

Pumpkin – When the colonists landed in North America, they found the Indians growing and using pumpkins. This large, ungainly fruit was enthusiastically embraced by the new Americans and subsequently, pumpkin pie became a national Thanksgiving tradition. It was so loved that one early Connecticut colony delayed Thanksgiving because the molasses needed to make this popular pie wasn’t readily available. Large, round and orange, the pumpkin is a member of the gourd family, which also includes Muskmelon, watermelon and squash.

Bibliography: The New Food Lover’s Companion, Sharon Tyler Herbst, 1995, Barron’s Educational Series.

Cooking Tidbit: If you have a large gathering for dinner, feel free to use a larger pumpkin and more of the ingredients to accommodate the group. You may substitute the andouille sausage for other types of sausage – it’s your choice.

Food Quote: “I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on velvet cushions.” – Henry David Thoreau