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Caribbean pumpkin stuffed with lamb biryani

As a nomad who travelled through 3 continents and finally settling down in Toronto and falling in love with a Bajan woman, this dish is a tribute to her and a celebration of my Somali and her Barbadian heritage. Indian aromatic spiced basmati rice mixed with a bright green Caribbean seasoned lamb, all baked in a Caribbean pumpkin.

Ingredients

Rice:

  • 4 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or sunflower oil)
  • 4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) optional
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

Lamb:

  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder deboned and cubed (2 inches)
  • 1-1/2 cups vinegar
  • 2 ounces thyme
  • 2 ounces parsley
  • 1 pound onions
  • 5 ounces green onions
  • 2 ounces marjoram
  • 4 Scotch Bonnet peppers or habanero (add more to make it hotter)
  • 4 ounces garlic
  • 1/2 ounce ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4-1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 6 cups of vegetarian stock

Pumpkin:

  • 8 to 10 pounds Caribbean pumpkin (substitute with Kobucha or Musqee de Provence pumpkin)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh thyme

Directions

Rice:

  1. Heat the oil and ghee in a pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, and salt. Sauté the onions until soft. Add cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns, cumin, and raisins. Sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add rice and mix it ensuring the rice absorbs all the spices and gets toasted in the oil. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is absorbed.
  3. Fluff with a fork.
  4. Allow it to cool before mixing it the seasoned lamb.

Lamb seasoning:

  1. Remove the stems from the thyme and marjoram and place in a blender with vinegar and blend.
  2. Place the onions, green onions, parsley, peppers and garlic in a food processor and process for 30 seconds to one minute.
  3. Blend this together with the seasoned vinegar in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add ground clove and black pepper.
  5. Add and mix deboned and cubed lamb shoulder into seasoning.
  6. Season lamb overnight.

Lamb:

  1. Add six cups of veg stock (or water with one onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf) in a pot and rest it on a steamer lined with parchment paper and spread the seasoned lamb. Cover it and steam in low heat for approximately 45 minutes.
  2. Allow the meat to cool, check for seasonings and fold with the rice.

Pumpkin:

  1. Carve the top of the pumpkin evenly and neatly, remove the seeds and rub the inside of the pumpkin with all ingredients and roast in a 300 degrees oven for 40 minutes. The goal is to soften the pumpkin without giving to much colour.

Assembly:

  1. Keep rice and lamb mix out of the fridge at room temperature for at least for one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven at 375 degrees.
  3. One hour prior to dinner, assemble the dish by adding the mixed rice and lamb in the pumpkin and cover the top and bake for 45 minutes.


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