My friend Nick is a foodie gourmet, he is an adventurous cook, willing to try many new recipes and flavors combinations!
Nick lives in beautiful snowy Aspen, Co. One of Nick’s recent gourmet projects involves a savory slow cooking pumpkin stuffed with a lot of flavorful ingredients, coming to the table all warm and bubbly. I can tell you this is he perfect meal for colder nights, as the big pumpkin is exhaling delicious smells of unique comfort food! Dig in with big spoons and share with your best friends!
It is a winter feast! Here is Nick’s recipe, enjoy it!
Ingredients: Serves 6
- 1 pumpkin, about 3 lb.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2–4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 4 slices bacon, cut in small pieces, cooked crisp, all fat drained
- About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions (Nick’ addition)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (Nick’s addition)
- About 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
How to make it:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment. You could also use a Dutch oven slightly larger than your pumpkin. If you choose to bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape. If it sticks to the casserole, serve it as it is with pot.
If you choose to bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding on platter, it will hot and heavy to be handled with care !!
Nick’s comment: ” Since I love how the unencumbered pumpkin looks freestanding in the center of the table, I’ve always succeeded so far in presenting it as a center piece, moving it around gently and carefully.
Use with caution a very sturdy knife, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). The best way to carve the pumpkin is to work your knife around the top at a 45-degree angle. Make sure to cut off enough of the top. It will be easier to fit the stuffing.
Clean and clear away all seeds and strings from the cap and from the pumpkin core. Season generously inside with salt and pepper. Place it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
In a large bowl, toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs, Season with pepper inside then using a big spoon stuff the mixture into the pumpkin. Fill it well to the top. Pour in the cream, sprinkle with nutmeg, taste to adjust seasoning. The stuffing should not be floating in cream or be too dry, simply dense yet nicely moistened.
Place the cap over and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours, check after 90 minutes of cooking. It will be done when all the stuffing is bubbling, Pierce the pumpkin flesh with a knife tip. It will be good to serve when flesh is tender.
Twenty minutes before cooking time ends, remove the top, let the liquid released dry up, simmer some more so the stuffing will brown nicely.
When the pumpkin is ready, bring it to the table in its own pot or in a large sturdy platter. Move carefully as it will be heavy, hot, and wobbly, but delicious!
To serve :
You can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to catch a generous amount of pumpkin flesh or you let everyone to dig in : spoon out some of the stuffing and pull the pumpkin meat into the filling then mix everything together. Serve the portion over a mixed fresh green salad and a mustardy vinaigrette.
This hearty wintery meal gives its best when served right out of the stove or oven. If you got some leftovers, scoop them out, mixing well with remaining pumpkin flesh.Store refrigerated and serve the next day.
Create your own arts-and-crafts culinary project!!! Instead of bread, you could fill the pumpkin with cooked rice. When baked, it tastes like a savory pumpkin risotto.You could also add some cooked spinach, kale, chard, or frozen peas. Ham can be a great addition yet Nick’s ultimate version is when simmered with some savory sausage meat!
If you skip the bacon or meat, this is a fantastic vegetarian dish!