Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good

There's no better way to celebrate the bounty of the season than to serve this pumpkin stuffed with all of the comforts of fall. This one is stuffed with a mixture of bread, cheese, sausage, cream, and herbs. The best part about this recipe is that it simply serves as a guideline which is open to creative interpretation, so stuff yours with whatever it is that you find most comforting.
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I first made this stuffed pumpkin a few years ago, and it quickly became a seasonal staple in my repertoire. 
A recipe for a stuffed jack-o-lantern pumpkin...why didn't I think of that? 
Not only is this a total show-stopper of a dish, but the taste is honestly out of this world. Think of your favorite comforting dish, then multiply it times infinity.
Yes, it's that good!
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This recipe simply serves as a guideline for ratios of pumpkin to fillings, so use whatever types of things that you like the most. 
I used a thick, hearty peasant loaf and mixed it with cooked Italian sausage, chunks of apple smoked cheddar, herbs, and cream.
In the past, I've added chopped kale, gruyere, and shredded turkey breast. 
The possibilities are really endless. I'd love to hear what you come up with!

Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good
Adapted from Epicurious 
Serves 6 as an entree

1 Pumpkin, about 6 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 oz stale hearty bread loaf, sliced into 1/2 inch chunks
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (I used apple smoked cheddar)
8 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz Italian sausage, broken into small chunks and cooked
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
Using a sharp and sturdy knife, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Prep the pumpkin, removing the seeds, as you would a jack-o-lantern pumpkin.
Season the inside well with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkin on the prepared baking sheet.
In a large bowl, toss the bread, cheese, garlic, sausage, and herbs. Drizzle in the cream until the bread is well soaked, but not overly saturated.
Scoop the mixture into the pumpkin and top with the cap.
Bake in preheated oven for 90 minutes. Remove cap, then bake for an additional 30-60 minutes or until a knife easily punctures outside of pumpkin and filling is cooked through.
There can be quite a bit of variation here, so you'll just have to watch it. It's really hard to go wrong though.
Carefully transfer pumpkin to a serving platter. To serve, scoop flesh, pulling it into the middle of the pumpkin to combine with the filling mixture.
Leftovers reheat very well.

Notes:
I've used jack-o-lantern pumpkins as well as sugar pie pumpkins and haven't noticed a difference in the outcome, so use whatever you can find.

Enjoy!

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