With Thanksgiving around the corner, people are starting now looking for ideas for the big gathering dinner. Here I suggest a Harrissa quinoa stuffed Hokkaido pumpkins. It is a dish with various texture and flavors. Using the small Hokkaido pumpkins is a very chic and fun way to present a side dish (or as a main dish if you are vegetarian) beside the traditional turkey. I added Mina Harissa sauce into the quinoa to give it an extra kick. I like how the harissa sauce spice up the otherwise plain quinoa. Mina has also a mild version if you prefer it less spicy.
What you'll need:
- 4 very small Hokkaido pumpkins (one for each person) or a medium Muscat squash
- 170 g quinoa
- 350 ml water or vegetable stock
- 1 small purple onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 30 g feta cheese, break into crumbles
- 2 tbsp Mina Harissa sauce
- 2 tbsp almond flakes, or crushed almonds, lightly toasted
- 3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- handful of coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
How it's made:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Using a very sturdy knife carefully cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Remove the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Rub inside with some oil and season the inside generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot. Repeat the process for all other three Hokkaido pumpkins.
Place a cup of quinoa into a sieve. Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes. Rub and swish the quinoa while rinsing. Drain.
Add quinoa in a saucepan, cover 2 cups of water or vegetable stock and the salt. Bring to a boil. Then turn heat down to the low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet. Sauté onions for a couple of minutes until soft and fragrant.
Add the onions, 2 tbsp of Harissa sauce, almond and feta cheese crumbles (save some almond and feta cheese for garnish) to the quinoa. Gently mix all the ingredients together.
Stuff the quinoa mixture into the Hokkaido pumpkins. Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 40 mins - 1 hour (depending on the oven and on the size of the pumpkin). Rule of thumb is that the flesh of the pumpkin is by tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.
Once cooked, remove the Hokkaido pumpkins from the oven. Remove the cap and garnish the quinoa mixture with pomegranate seed, almond, feta cheese and coriander. And serve.