Savory Stuffed Sweet Pie Pumpkin
Courtesy of Jennie Cook of Cook’s Catering. The pumpkins FormLA Landscaping will leave on your patio can be so much more than pretty (or scary) faces! Use this yummy recipe to recycle your decorative pumpkins into your dinner plans.
The best pumpkins for stuffing are either the sugar pumpkin or the sweetie pie pumpkin. Any pumpkin will do, but these two varieties were bred for sweet meats and a future in pie. The stuffing can be filled into any hard squash. My particular favorites are the delicate and the kabocha. Be forewarned they are LARGE and make enough for a small army, or at least 14 folks, where as the petite sugar or sweetie pie pumpkin is good for 4-6 guests.
Preparation: Prepare your pumpkin like you’re making a Jack o’ Lantern. Cut the top wide, making more of a bowl than a lantern with the squash. Preheat the oven to 400°. Make the stuffing.
- A rough-cut mirepoix of onions, celery, carrots shallots and garlic – cooked.
- Enough breadcrumbs, plain or flavored (I love cornbread – olive bread is fun too – but not gluten free – turns to rubber inside the squash)
- Sage, thyme, California bay, rosemary from your garden, your neighbor’s garden, or your neighborhood. Forage! Any combination is delicious
- Butter or olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Grated gruyere cheese, local Chevre or your family favorite
- 2 to 4 cups of cream, milk, vegetable stock, chicken stock – any combination will do
- Optional: an egg or two, nuts and berries (bacon)
Note: This is an excellent recipe for improvisation, and can easily be vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous (add some bacon or pancetta).
- Oil or butter the cavity of the squash and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix together the mirepoix, breadcrumbs, cheeses, herbs nuts and berries. I like to add whole cranberries and walnuts. I also like sliced almonds and dates. Toss together, taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Chop your herbs and add no less than a teaspoon, no more than a tablespoon. Start sparingly; the flavors will bloom while cooking.
- Tuck the stuffing into the prepared cavity. Don’t pack it in. Pile it in nicely with little to no pressing depending on the density of your dressing.
- Pour the liquid of choice over the dressing till it pools at the top.
- Place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet. Place the top of the pumpkin next to the pumpkin.
- Bake the pumpkin at 400* till the filling bubbles (anywhere from ½ hour to 45 minutes depending on the size). Check the lid, when it’s soft, remove it from the oven.
- Reduce heat to 325 and continue cooking till pumpkin is soft. You should be able to stick a pick right through the flesh and into the center of the pumpkin. I use a skewer.
- When the pumpkin is soft through and through, it’s ready!
- Allow it to repose for a ½ hour before serving. The best presentation is when it’s sliced like a cake, and served in wedges. Alternatively, it can be scooped out.