This recipe has been floating around my house for years. It’s from one of my favorite cookbooks, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. For some reason, I had never made it before recently, which is silly because it couldn’t be simpler or more perfect for the fall. A small pumpkin is hollowed out and stuffed with anything you like, then baked until the inside is hot and bubbly. It’s a great dish for cleaning out your fridge and can work as a hearty side, a decadent main course or a vegetarian entree. The whole pumpkin can be brought to the table for a lovely display and then scooped out, sliced up, or served individually to your guests - perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner!
Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good
1 Pumpkin, about 3 lbs (I used one 1.5 lb baking pumpkin and one 1.5 lb Acorn Squash)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
¼ lb stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into ½ inch chunks
¼ lb cheese, such as Gruyere, Emmental, Cheddar, or a combination, cut into ½ inch chunks
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and coarsely chopped
¼ cup snipped fresh chives or scallions
1 tbs minced fresh thyme
⅓ cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pop your slices of bacon in a 400 degree oven and bake until well-crisped. Meanwhile, cut the top of your pumpkin as you would a Jack O’Lantern, scraping out seeds and pulp. I used one 1.5 pound pumpkin and one 1.5 lb acorn squash (cut a small bit off the bottom of the squash to ensure that it stands up straight). Rough chop your garlic and scallion. Cut bread and cheese (I used a combination of Emmental for its melty, gooeyness and Irish White Cheddar for it’s sharp and salty flavor) into ½ inch cubes. Salt and pepper the inside of your pumpkin.
Mix bread, cheese, bacon, scallion, garlic, thyme and more salt and pepper together in a bowl. Stuff into your pumpkin filling all the way to the top. Grate some nutmeg over your heavy cream, add a little salt and pepper and pour mixture into pumpkin. Place pumpkin on a lined baking sheet.
Pop in a 350 degree oven and bake. My two 1.5 pound pumpkins took 1 hour and 15 minutes. Pumpkins are done when the filling is hot and bubbly and interior flesh is soft. Scoop filling and pumpkin onto a plate and enjoy!
Other things you can stuff into your pumpkin: sausage and kale for a hearty supper; chicken curry for a one-pumpkin meal; cherries and wild rice for a vegetarian main; pumpkin pie filling, cranberry bread and custard for a charming pumpkin bread pudding.
For more fall recipes and ideas, join The Chopping Block for one of our seasonal classes coming up this November: Thanksgiving Workshop on Saturday, November 12th (other dates and locations are available too) and Autumn Soups and Stews on Saturday, November 19th at Lincoln Square.