Each month, this section will feature a recipe written and submitted by a Literacy Volunteers student. All kinds of recipes are welcome--from the simple to the extravagant--and those chosen for our newsletter will be selected based on how appealing we think they will be to our readers.
Our first LV Celebrity Chef is Tammy, an ESL student in Eleanor's class at M.L. Keefe Center, Hamden.
Name of the recipe: Ghapama (Stuffed, Baked Pumpkin)
Country of Origin: Armenia
Ghapama is a stuffed, baked pumpkin dish, traditionally served between the New Year and the Armenian Christmas, which Armenians celebrate on January 6. To make the dish, a medium-size pumpkin is cut open at the top, then the fibrous strands and seeds are scooped out. Generally, a stuffing is made with partially cooked rice, dried fruits, chopped nuts, cinnamon, and sugar or honey. The mixture is placed in the cavity. The filled pumpkin is then baked until tender.
1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
1 ½ cups rice
4 tablespoons (1/4 stick) melted butter
¼ cup each dried plums, apricots, cherries, all chopped
¼ cup raisins
½ - ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt to taste
1 - 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
¼ cup hot water
Cooking or baking Instructions
1. Wash and dry exterior of pumpkin. Cut off the top in a circular shape, as it will be used as a lid during baking.
2. Scrape out the stringy fibers and seeds. The seeds may be used for roasting, later on. Rinse the inside of the pumpkin, and pat dry.
3. In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add rice, stir, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Cook rice for about 15 minutes. The rice should NOT be completely cooked. Drain any excess liquid.
4. In a bowl, mix together the partially cooked rice, chopped dried fruits, melted butter, salt, cinnamon, honey (or brown sugar), and nuts (if using).
5. Put the stuffing into the pumpkin, and pour the ¼ cup hot water over the top of the mixture.
6. Replace the lid on the pumpkin, and wrap the entire pumpkin in foil. Place the wrapped pumpkin on a baking sheet for support.
7. Bake at 325°F for about 1 - 1½ hours, or until soft. Insert a toothpick into the pumpkin to determine tenderness. CAUTION: Do not overcook the pumpkin, or it will lose its shape and collapse!
Serves: 6 - 7