A few weeks ago we spent a glorious fall weekend at my parents’ acreage, “Tanglewood.” Tanglewood is a magical place…28 acres of wooded gulch tucked into the rolling hills of the Coteau des Prairies in Deuel County. Their red “saltbox” house is about 130 years old and used to be home to one of the Lt. Governers of South Dakota. The train from MN used to run through the property and tucked back in the gulch is the old stone trestle where it used to cross the winding creek that runs through the gulch. On most any night you can see millions of stars spread out brightly above the homestead. There’s always room to stay because beyond the house there’s also an apartment “living quarters” attached to the garage, as well as a small cabin with trundle beds, and a Trotwood camper, all furnished warmly and comfortably. It’s truly a wonderful place to come “home” to!
The weekend was warm with the scent of dry leaves permeating the air. My Dad had fittingly found a wonderful baked pumpkin recipe to make that weekend. We spent the afternoon working on this glorious recipe and basking in the sun on a fabulous fall day.
1 small 4-6 lb. pumpkin
1 lb sweet or hot sausage
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. coarsely chopped mushrooms
4 cups cooked rice
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. thyme
pinch of ground sage
pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 tbsp. 100% pure maple syrup
We doubled the recipe and used two sugar pumpkins from a local farm. You start by scooping out the seeds and “guts” and roasting the pumpkin for 30 mins in a pan of shallow water.
While the pumpkins are prepping in the oven, you assemble your “stuffing.” My parents make their own Italian sausage by mixing deer burger (from deer that my Dad harvests from the gulch each year–usually by bow) and ground pork and combining their own mixture of seasoning. Delicious and healthy! First you cook your meat onions, garlic, rice, and seasonings:
And you prep the rest of the stuffing ingredients, then add everything together:
Then you pop your semi-roasted pumpkins out of the oven and add the stuffing mixture and top with some (more) cheese:
Then put the stuffed pumpkins back in the oven to bake for a while longer. While waiting for this heavenly dish to cook to perfection, you head outside to do other pleasant fall activities like:
And you will know when your pumpkins are done by the browned cheese on top….drooool…..
Now a dish like this deserves a special meal…why not take a late lunch outside in the fall sunshine? So we brought out a jar of my dilly beans, some toasted and buttered french bread, milk, tomato juice, and a couple of “Rooster” brews from Hendricks, MN (for those of us not breastfeeding, that is). And of course, the seasoned and roasted pumpkin seeds.
Take a deep breath of the warm fall air, send up a little prayer of thanks for good food, family, and the fall, and enjoy!!
Thanks Mom and Dad for a wonderful weekend! And thanks to my sister Ivy for helping take pics for this little tutorial!