Wednesday, October 19, 2011
A Stuffed Pumpkin for the Unprocessed October Challenge
Remember my inspiration to try stuffed pumpkin from a couple of days ago? I thought this would be a terrific recipe to make and share for the Unprocessed October challenge (eating food made from scratch using quality, whole ingredients). What could be more unprocessed than starting with a whole beautiful pumpkin?
I’ve had this pumpkin recipe on my mind for some time now. When I first opened Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, I was drooling over just about every recipe. One in particular leaped out at me, though, and I tagged it for October. She calls it Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good, and that about sums it up!
You begin with a whole pumpkin, carve the top out (like a jack-o-lantern), scrape out the seeds and stringy insides -my chickens devoured the stringy stuff - then stuff it with a scrumptious filling. Pop it in the oven and walk away for two hours. That’s it!
What emerges from the oven is heavenly. Wedges of roasted pumpkin cradle a savory mix of bread, cheese, cream, herbs and any other tidbits you choose to include. Think Thanksgiving stuffing, and then some (it would make a hearty vegetarian option for the holidays). Setting the cooked pumpkin on the table makes a beautiful presentation, and it’s fun to serve the slices from the whole pumpkin.
This is a chance to get really creative! The original recipe calls for bacon, so I subbed in smoked salmon and then got crazy and threw in walnuts, mushrooms, chives and pumpkin seeds. This got a thumbs up from Bob!
We just finished eating it and I’m already planning my next stuffed pumpkin (diced apples and fresh cranberries ... maybe some grains like barley or nutty brown rice). Enjoy playing around with this recipe!
Adapted from Around My French Table
By Dorie Greenspan
Serves 4-6 as a main dish
1 sugar pumpkin, roughly 5 pounds, lid cut in the top and cleaned out (reserve the lid and save the seeds to roast or include in the recipe)
6 ounces stale bread, cut into 1 inch chunks (I used a multi-grain loaf)
8 ounces cheese, cut into 1 inch chunks (I used Beecher’s Flagship cheddar. I think Gruyere or soft goat cheese would be delicious, too.)
1/8 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
4 ounces smoked salmon, broken into chunks
2 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
3/4 cup half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin in a round casserole (I used a deep pie dish) or on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. If you bake on a baking sheet, it might be difficult to move the cooked pumpkin to a serving dish, so if possible bake in your serving dish.
In a large bowl, toss the bread chunks, cheese chunks, walnuts, salmon, mushrooms, most of the chives and salt and pepper to taste together. I also tossed in a handful of reserved pumpkin seeds.
Spoon the mixture into the carved out pumpkin. You may need to pack it down. Drizzle the half and half over and let it soak in. Cover with the lid and pop into the oven. Now forget about it for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the pumpkin is soft when pierced. Remove from the oven and serve in wedges, sprinkled with the remaining chives.
**Depending upon the size of your pumpkin, you may need to adjust the amount of ingredients and baking time. Use your best judgment, this one is not an exact science.