Baked Stuffed Pumpkin - a Thanksgiving Star
This is one of my favorite fall recipes. The presentation of a whole pumpkin with amazing aromas wafting from it will delight your dinner guests.
You can use one large pumpkin or individual small pumpkin giving each person their very own.
You will love this recipe - it is easy, but looks difficult. It is warm and full of flavor. It is also a very flexible recipe. Once you have the basics, you can swap out or substitute ingredients to create your own version. it is easily made vegan substituting mushrooms for bacon; rice for bread; and vegan cheese or no cheese.
1 3 lb pumpkin
1/4 lb day-old bread, cut into 1/2" chunks
1/4 lb Gruyere cheese (or Emmentaler) cut into 1/2" squares
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 strips crispy cooked bacon, chopped (can be substituted for smoked tempeh)
1/4 cup scallions sliced
2 large apples, cored, and chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh thyme minced
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
2 tsp nutmeg grated
1/2 cup nuts toasted (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment
Cut a round out of the top of the pumpkin, just like you do a Jack-o-Lantern. Make sure you cut a wide enough cap to get your hand inside the pumpkin.
Scrape out all seeds and stringy membrane.
Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet.
Mix the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, apples, nuts, and herbs in a bowl, then pack into the pumpkin until pumpkin is full to the brim.
Stir the cream and balsamic together; then add nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Pour into the pumpkin just until everything is thoroughly moistened, not swimming.
Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours; check at 90 minutes by running a knife into the pumpkin. It is done when the flesh is soft and the mix is bubbling.
Leave the cap off for the last 20 minutes.
Your pumpkins will be very hot and wobbly, so remove very carefully using a large spatula (or two) and transfer to a serving platter or plates.
It is lovely to place each pumpkin on the plate it will be eaten from surrounded by greens, such as mache or micro greens.
Serve using a large spoon and scraping into the meat of the pumpkin.
Use rice instead of bread (the rice should be cooked when you add it to the pumpkin)
Add greens like kale, peas or spinach instead of apples
Substitute bacon with cooked sausage, ham or mushrooms