Those of you who are subscribers to Woolgathering might remember my piece in the Fall Issue about stuffed pumpkin. For those of you who aren't subcribers or don't remember, the following is an excerpt:
"A few years ago, we heard about stuffing a pumpkin on an NPR piece about Thanksgiving foods. The recipe, French inspired was developed by Dorie Greenspan for Around My French Table. This elegant dish involves scooping out the seeds of a pumpkin and filling it with stale bread, garlic, bacon, gruyere cheese, thyme, nutmeg, and heavy cream, but you can insert whatever ingredients you have in your fridge like other vegetables, greens, sausage, or rice. Once stuffed, you return the top hat of the pumpkin and bake the entire pumpkin until the squash meat is soft. The outside skin gets a deep orange and is soft and pokable. You then scoop out the gooey innards with a metal spoon scraping the insides to retrieve the pumpkin flesh along with the cheese, bacon, and cream.
It’s delicious and comforting yet elegant and special. For those of you preferring savory to sweet, this is a brilliant way to enjoy pumpkin. Furthermore, it’s a dish that encapsulates quite literally the bounty of fall while embodying the spirit of the season so perfectly. At the very least, it’s an alternative way to consume pumpkin in a more elevated way as opposed to the myriads of products that pumpkin has found its way into such as: cereals, coffee, and just about every other processed product on market shelves. But there is something more than a delicious meal, here. There is something magical about a hollow pumpkin, or perhaps more accurately, something magical in its ability to transform into something else. "
This past Saturday, after a day of soccer games in the cold and wind, we warmed up the kitchen, ourselves, and our spirits by stuffing two homegrown pumpkins, plucked from the kids' fairy garden. This is the actual recipe!
Below, is our interpretation.
The kids planted the pumpkin seeds at the beginning of June. Pat pulled these two from their shriveled vines in the middle of September. They were the first two pumpkins harvested, and we have four more in storage for either pies or more stuffed pumpkin!
We cut the tops off, just as you would to carve a pumpkin. Don't throw them away! Then, scoop out the seeds. (Keep the seeds, too, if you want to roast them with olive oil salt and spices. )
Once the pumpkins are emptied, season the insides of the pumpkins and the caps with salt and pepper.
Prepare your ingredients:
-Fresh herbs (We used thyme, garlic chives, and scallions from our garden)
-Cubed cheese (We used Emmenthal)
-Cubed, dried bread (We used Lithuanian rye)
-Diced garlic (ours game from our garden)
-Bacon cooked crisp and broken into pieces
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl!
Fill each pumpkin as full as possible.
Season heavy cream with nutmeg and pour into the pumpkins, saturating the mixture.
Replace the pumpkin hats and put the pumpkins onto parchment paper. Place into a 350 degree oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. These only took 1 1/2 hours because they were small.
Remove from the oven when the outside skin is easily piereced with a knife. . .just like cooking squash.
Scoop out the contents while scraping the sides of the pumpkin to get the squash meat. Enjoy!
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.