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Recipe Friday: It's the Great Pumpkin!

Who doesn't love pumpkins? They bring to mind wonderful memories; whether its carving up the scariest jack-o-lantern or whipping up something tasty in the kitchen (pies, bars, soups, oh my,) pumpkins are a huge part of American culture. Pumpkins are so important to our culture that they even have a whole month dedicated to celebrating the versatility of this wonderful produce. 

So, this National Pumpkin Month make these orange beauties the star of the show in so many different ways. 


Braised American Lamb Shoulder with Pumpkin Smoked Gouda Grits

Recipe courtesy The Daley Plate, via the American Lamb Board

Yield 6-8


1 three-pound bone-in American Lamb shoulder
1 T Cajun seasoning
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 T olive oil
1 ea. large yellow onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 ea. bay leaf
2 cups vegetable broth
1 T white miso paste
1 Tn brown gravy powder
3 ½ cups vegetable broth or water
2 T butter
2 cups grits or polenta
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup heavy cream
8 oz grated smoked gouda cheese
To serve: Sage leaves crisped up in olive oil, steamed vegetables


  1. Season lamb shoulder with Cajun seasoning, black pepper and salt. Set Instant Pot to saute, add olive oil and sear lamb shoulder for 5 minutes per side or until golden. Remove and place on a plate until ready to braise.
  2. Add onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf  to the Instant Pot and saute for 5 minutes. Deglaze by adding the vegetable broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the inner pot with a wooden spoon until nothing is sticking. Add white miso paste and gravy powder, followed by the lamb shoulder. Place lid on and set Instant Pot to Manual Pressure for 50 minutes. After cooking, allow pressure to release naturally (10 minutes), remove the shoulder bone and set to saute to reduce liquid until desired consistency. The meat should be fall-apart tender and the garlic and onions completely reduced to form the gravy. Remove bay leaf, season to taste and serve with smoked pumpkin gouda grits. Tip: To thicken the gravy, add a slurry with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water then stir gently until thickened.
  3. For the grits: Add vegetable broth or water and butter to a large pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, add grits then stir and cook for 10 minutes until thickened. Add pumpkin puree, cream and grated smoked gouda cheese. Stir and simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes and season to taste. Serve immediately with crispy sage, braised American lamb and vegetables of your choice.

Sausage, Rice, and Cranberry Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Recipe courtesy Inspired by Charm


8-10 mini pumpkins
2-3 T olive oil
1 lb ground pork sausage
¾ cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup roughly chopped crimini mushrooms
½ cup apple cider
1 cup chopped raw pecans
⅛ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 cup dried cranberries
1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa Brown and Red Rice 
1 cup chopped kale leaves
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Slice the tops off the mini pumpkins and scoop out the seeds. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 pecans, nutmeg, and thyme. Cook until the liquid is slightly reduced (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Microwave the Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown and Red Rice according to the package directions.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the sausage, onion, mushrooms, dried cranberries, rice, kale, and 3/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  7. Transfer the pumpkin bottoms to a large cast-iron pan. Set the tops aside.
  8. Stuff the pumpkins with the sausage, rice, and cranberry mixture. Heap the mixture on top of each pumpkin. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  9. 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.
  10. Serve hot and place the pumpkin tops* back on the pumpkins.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Recipe courtesy Pillsbury

Yield: 16


1box (14.1 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury™ Pie Crusts (2 Count), softened as directed on box
1 ½ cups cold milk
1 package (3.5 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree


  1. Heat oven to 425°F. From 1 box refrigerated Pillsbury™ Pie Crusts, softened as directed on box, unroll 1 crust on work surface. Use 3-inch round cutter to cut 8 rounds, and place on outsides of cups of upside down nonstick mini muffin pan, skipping every other one. Repeat with second crust.
  2. Bake about 8 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes; remove shells from pan to cooling rack to cool completely.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding mix until thickened. Stir in the pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree until thoroughly combined.
  4. Fill each shell with the pumpkin mixture. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve within 3 days. Top with a dollop of whipped cream before serving.