Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yes, you can cook this: Baked Stuffed Pumpkin

When it comes to cooking, I've always got a few recipes up my sleeve that are sure to impress; these are dishes that I know will be delicious and are hard to mess up, yet have certain one-of-a-kind details guaranteed to evoke that "ooooh" factor in dinner guests. This Sunday I added another to my repertoire.
While Sean was in upstate New York this weekend learning to be a master painter, (seriously, I'll have to post some of his work sometime. Just beautiful) I took the opportunity to go to my parent's. Usually the best thing about our home is that Sean is there, so there wasn't much point in sticking around the empty house. Plus it was nice to have some solid time with my family, and as an added bonus I got to eat some absolutely astounding meals, one of which I'll share with you today. I guess my sister Kristi made this recipe for my other sister, Lindsey, last week, and Linds wanted to share it with the rest of us. The recipe is called "Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good" and believe me, it's no lie. The great thing about this recipe is there are countless variations on it. Once you've made one, I guarantee you'll have ten more ideas for how to make the next. It's just the nature of the beast. Even the author, Dorie Greenspan, admits this is more of an "outline" than a "recipe." She has some great remarks on the subject:

"Catherine sent me a charming outline of the recipe, and as soon as I'd baked my first pumpkin, I realized that an outline is about the best you can do with this dish. It's a hollowed-out pumpkin stuffed with bread, cheese, garlic, and cream, and since pumpkins come in unpredictable sizes, cheeses and breads differ, and baking times depend on how long it takes for the pumpkin to get soft enough to pierce with a knife, being precise is impossible.

As Catherine said when she turned this family favorite over to me, "I hope you will put the recipe to good use, knowing that it's destined to evolve . . . and maybe even be improved."

Well, I've certainly been putting it to good use, and it has evolved, although I'm not sure that it's been improved, since every time I make it, it's different, but still wonderful. My guess is that you'll have the same feeling once you start playing around with this 'outline'(Greenspan)."

The recipe you'll find on Epicurious is for more of a traditional bread stuffing inside the pumpkin. Lindsey stuffed ours with delicious risotto, spinach, parsnips, cheese, and chicken sausage. Fortunately I was in the kitchen with her as she concocted this magical delight and have step-by-step pictures of her process to share with you.

Read on for the visual How-To after the jump!

Linds chops onions to go in the risotto. 

The aforementioned risotto. This cooked slowly on the stove during prep time.

Parsnips were chopped...

...then went in the oven to brown.

Cubed cheese (Jarlsberg/Cheddar) went into the risotto right before the pumpkin was stuffed. The apple and Gouda chicken sausage was browned on the stovetop.

Everything working on the stovetop.

The Pumpkin emptied out and ready to be stuffed. Linds cooked it in her cast iron casserole. You can also cook it on a baking sheet but then you have the risk of moving the soft, volatile pumpkin after it comes out of the oven.

The first layer of the stuffing: fresh spinach

The parsnips removed from the oven and going into the pumpkin.

The parsnips layered on top of the spinach in the pumpkin.

The browned sausage is next to go in.

The sausage in the pumpkin: the last thing before the risotto is added.

Linds adds a last minute hint of chives to the risotto. You can see the chunks of cheese added in.

Linds fills the pumpkin the rest of the way with the risotto mixture.

Finally, Linds adds the cream seasoned with nutmeg, salt and pepper. It's important to add the right amount, and you'll have to do this by feel. You don't want too little, but you don't want it to swim in the liquid either. 

How it looked before being popped in the oven.

Linds tops it off...

...then into the oven for around 2 hours. 

This is what it looks like when it's done. It should be easily pierced with a knife.

And just look at the inside! Yum...make sure to scrape the sides of the pumpkin into the mix when serving.

Thanks, Linds, for the recipe! You can visit her over at her blog, Gluten Tag

Thanks for reading and best of luck to you with your own stuffed pumpkin! Does anyone have any other "wow" factor recipes for the fall? -hil

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness...this looks so good! I will have to give it a go :) Thanks for sharing Hilary!