Pumpkin often gets short shrift when it comes to savoury dishes. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, and even pumpkin cheesecake show up on menus once the weather starts to turn. But pumpkin is as lovely as any other squash when it comes to appetizers, soups, or entrées. Pumpkins roasted whole make for beautiful presentation, too.
This week’s French Fridays recipe is a stuffed, roasted pumpkin that’s both beautiful and delicious. It’s a great choice for a dinner party or holiday meal. Dorie’s recipe includes cream, cheese, and bacon, but would be easy to convert for vegetarian or vegan guests. Or switch the bread cubes for rice and you have a great gluten-free version.
The hardest part of this recipe for me was finding a small pumpkin. People are on the hunt for Jack O’ Lanterns at this time of year and the markets were filled with giant pumpkins. The smallest one I was able to find was about six pounds, twice the weight called for in the recipe, so I was generous with the filling ingredients. The basic stuffing uses bread cubes, garlic, herbs, bacon, and cheese, which is then covered in nutmeg-spiced heavy cream.
I was lucky enough to be able to use garlic my Dad grew, along with thyme, chives, and Swiss chard from my mother’s garden. Along with some high-fibre bread, I’m quite sure that this was a healthy dish. (Please ignore the additions of bacon, heavy cream, Emmenthal and old cheddar.)
It made a lovely meal beside some grilled venison steaks, which I’d marinated in oil, red wine, garlic, lemon juice, and some Montreal Steak Spice. Since the pumpkin was so big, I pulled the leftover stuffing out of the pumpkin, chopped the pumpkin meat finely, and mixed it all together. I pan-fried some for a great lunch the next day. Elegant at its first serving and good as leftovers – this recipe will be revisited, though I doubt it will ever be made the same way twice. As Dorie said, it’s more of an outline than a recipe, after all.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good