How about an instant wow dish for your Thanksgiving table that comes in an edible bowl? This Campfire Roasted Pumpkin Rice is a nice departure from typical potato side dishes while keeping the comfort and warmth you want from a holiday meal. If you’re not making a turkey, this would be an impressive main dish. Savory, sweet, tart and nutty flavors come together in subtle way that will leave you pleasantly surprised.
This recipe has been campified from a traditional Armenian dish called ghapama featured in Issue 14 of Lucky Peach magazine.
Campfire Roasted Pumpkin Rice
Prep Time / Cook Time/
Activity GuideCar Camping
- 9 inch sugar pumpkin (with a nice big stem)
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 4 - 4 ½ cups vegetable broth
- ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup dried barberries*
- Medium pot
- 10 inch / 4 quart Dutch Oven
- 10 inch Cast Iron Skillet
- Lid lifter
- Make sure the pumpkin fits in your dutch oven! It should sit comfortably inside the dutch oven diameter-wise.
- Soak barberries in warm water for 10 minutes and then drain.
- Melt butter in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the dried apricots, walnuts and barberries. Cook until the fruit is softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a pot, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil and add the arborio rice with ½ teaspoon of salt. Simmer with lid slightly ajar until rice is cooked, approximately 20 minutes. Check rice after about 10 minutes and make sure there is still some liquid. Add ¼ to ½ cup of water or broth if necessary.
- Add nut and fruit mixture to rice and mix well. Add salt to taste if mixture still needs seasoning.
- Pack in water tight container or gallon sized zip top bag and store in cooler.
- Get a nice campfire going to build a bed of hot coals.
- Wash and dry pumpkin. Cut a lid around the stem and set aside. Scrape out insides of pumpkin leaving only the firm flesh.
- Set the pumpkin in the dutch oven and scoop the rice filling into it. Don’t over fill the pumpkin – the pumpkin lid should still close tightly.
- To cover the pumpkin and create an oven-like condition, use a 10 inch cast iron skillet as an improvised lid by turning it upside down and placing over the dutch oven. If the pumpkin is too tall, get creative and build a foil cover that will be easy to open/remove and put back on (you’ll need to check in on the pumpkin during the process).
- Set the dutch oven directly in the fire pit with coals using your lid lifter. Place hot coals on top of the cast iron lid. Rotate ¼ turn every 15 minutes until pumpkin outside is slightly soft to the touch and the inside flesh is soft.
- Remove from the campfire and set on heat-proof surface. Using a big spoon, scoop up rice, scraping up bits of pumpkin at the same time. Serve immediately.
* Barberries have a unique tart-like flavor and are commonly found at Middle Eastern grocers. If you can’t find them, substitute currants soaked in lemon juice.