Festive, delicious and feeds a crowd, this is a great side dish for your Thanksgiving table. This recipe comes from the Dorie Greenspan cookbook, Around My French Table and she titles the recipe Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. It’s simply a hollowed-out pumpkin stuffed with bread, cheese, bacon, garlic and cream. Yes…“Everything Good”.
I used what was labeled a Sugar Pumpkin. Cutting the cap out of the pumpkin so it’s easy to work inside, you clean out the seeds and strings and fill it with the mixture of bread, cheese, and bacon and seasonings. Pumpkins come in all sizes, so the amounts and cooking times will vary. After it’s stuffed, just cook the pumpkin until it’s soft enough to pierce with the tip of a knife. You can cook it in a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. This will help the pumpkin to keep it’s shape, but it might stick, so you may have to serve it from the pot. I wanted it to be showy and free standing at the table, so cooked it on a baking sheet and transferred it to a serving platter. Maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell wasn’t very easy. I felt lucky with this one, and It looked gorgeous in the center of the table. To serve, slice the pumpkin in wedges and slide onto a plate so that the stuffing stays tucked inside the slice of pumpkin. The stuffing flavors combined with the cooked pumpkin is divine in all it’s savoriness.
- 1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- ¼ pound stale bread, thin sliced and cut into ½ inch chunks
- ¼ pound cheese, such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, cheddar or a combination, cut into ½ inch chunks
- 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 strips bacon, cooked crisp, drained and chopped
- ¼ C. fresh chives or scallions, chopped
- 1 T. minced fresh thyme
- ⅓ C. heavy cream
- pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a Dutch oven with a diameter that's just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin.
- Using a sturdy knife, carefully cut a cap out of the top. It's easiest to work your knife around the top at a 45-degree angle. Cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumping. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from the inside of the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper and place on the sheet or in the Dutch oven.
- Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, chives and thyme together in a bowl. Season with pepper. You can season with salt, but the bacon and cheese might be salty enough. Pack the mixture into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled. Remove or add ingredients to adjust.
- Stir the cream with the nutmeg and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little. You don't want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened.
- Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours or until everything inside is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to pierce with the tip of a knife. Check after 90 minutes. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, remove the cap during the last 20 minutes of baking so the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
- When the pumpkin is ready, very carefully bring the wobbly dish to the table. To serve slice in wedges.
Stuffed Pumpkin…It’s what’s for a Thanksgiving Side Dish.