After an overly-indulgent pumpkin patch sent us home with 17 or so gourds of various sizes, I happened to find one in the lot that fit perfectly in my 10-inch cast iron pot.
This recipe was inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s “recipe in progress,” but in a rather roundabout way. I had heard some radio piece years ago about how angry the French are that us naughty Americans mutilate potentially-tasty pumpkins and then just toss them out every Halloween. The piece thus introduced me to the idea of stuffing a pumpkin with bread and cheese. Being a fan of bread and cheese as well as squashes, I always meant to try it. But hadn’t.Until a month or so ago when my dear friend Jen sent me this link to Dorie’s piece. Greenspan basically invites readers to riff on her version of this savory pumpkin treat. My favorite genre of cooking has always been experimental jazz, so I decided to give it a shot. My recipe additions were based mostly on what was in my kitchen at the time, so if you try it out yourself, feel free to be creative with it.
1 round-ish pumpkin, approximately 10-inches in diameter
2 portobello mushroom caps, chopped
9 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz Italian loaf, cubed and dried
½ lb blue cheese, chopped
1 firm apple, peeled and chopped
¾ cup pine nuts
1 T rubbed sage
1 tsp nutmeg
1 pint heavy cream
1 T olive oil
Cut circle around the stem of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. Remove top and set aside. Scrape stringy insides and seeds out from the pumpkin, discarding the “guts” but keeping the seeds for roasting later.
Season the inside of the pumpkin with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the pumpkin inside a 10-inch-wide dutch oven or cast iron “chicken fryer.”
In a large bowl, mix together bread, bacon, mushroom-garlic mixture, blue cheese, apple, pine nuts and sage. Pack mixture into the pumpkin. Mix heavy cream with nutmeg and pour into the pumpkin, stopping before the mixture is swimming in the stuff. Replace the stem on top of the pumpkin.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately an hour and a half. Remove the top of the pumpkin and allow top to brown for another half hour or so, or until pumpkin skin is easily punctured. Remove from oven and allow to set 15 minutes. Cut into slices and serve. Serves four as main course, up to eight as an appetizer.