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Thanksgiving Inspired Picadillo Stuffed Pumpkins

My absolute favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I look forward to it every year. My family gets together and we celebrate a entire week for this holiday. All we do is talk about food, make food, and eat. We have a 22 year tradition of my mom's side of the family and I am so glad we will be continuing it this year!!! 

Picadillo is a classic Cuban recipe of typically ground beef, but for the sake of making this a Thanksgiving inspired holiday I switched it to ground turkey. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without turkey, that is why in family we have 2. One for roasting and the other to fry. Since my mom's side of the family is Cuban I wanted to make it a Cuban inspired Thanksgiving, even though we make a very traditional American Thanksgiving meal. 

I love that there is a holiday that brings families, friends, loved ones together based around a meal. We should try to do this more often, daily, weekly, or monthly. To sit down with the people you care about and who care about you and to share a meal is a beautiful ritual all cultures share. It is a way to nourish our bodies, hearts, and soul. I think that is why I love this holiday so much. The tradition that is the ritual itself makes it a beautiful holiday to celebrate once a year. 

Yields 4/6 servings 


4-6 sugar pumpkins or small pumpkins - roasted

1 lb of ground turkey 

1 small yellow onion 

1/3 cup roasted chestnuts - diced 

1 garlic clove - minced 

1/2 cup green bell pepper - diced (optional) 

1/2-1 bunch dinosaur kale - stem removed and diced 

1/4 cup dried cranberries or tart cherries 

Some of the roasted pumpkin filling for color 

Fresh sage - minced 

Salt + Pepper 

1/4 stock

3 tablespoons olive oil 


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast the pumpkins on a baking sheet whole for about 30-35 minutes until soft. Once roasted remove from oven and let them cool before cutting the tops off. 

2. Meanwhile you can prepare the turkey picadillo. In a large saute pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Add the green bell pepper and garlic. Let this cook for 2-4 minutes. 

3. The  add the ground turkey and season well with salt and pepper. Add half the minced sage. I really love sage so I added a lot like 2 tablespoons. Let this cook. If the turkey looks too dry you can add a few tablespoons of stock or more olive oil. 

4. Once the turkey is half way browned add the kale, chestnuts, and dried fruit. Add the remaining  stock, lower the heat to low and cover. Let this continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. 

5. While the turkey is finishing cooking add the cut the tops of the pumpkins off. Scoop out the seeds and some of the center to fit the filling in. Save the pumpkin and add it to the ground turkey picadillo. 

6. Once the picadillo has cooked, stuff the pumpkins and add some fresh sage for garnish and serve. 


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