and ... WHOOOHOOO to extreme recipes!
My contribution from my good friend's blog:
Pumpking Stuffed with Everything Good (except I deleted the bread part!)
•1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
•Salt and freshly ground pepper
•¼ lb of a bread/grain subsitute (like rice or See notes below for other options!)
•¼ pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into ½-inch chunks
•2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
•4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
•About ¼ cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
•1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
•About ⅓ cup heavy cream
•Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1.Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
2.Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that's just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you'll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn't so easy.
3.Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It's easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin.
4.Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
5.Toss the bread subsitute (rice), cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it.
6.Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It's hard to go wrong here.)
7.Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
8.When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it's heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you'll bring to the table.
I skipped the nutmeg on accident, but it still came out really tasty. Keep in mind a 3 pound pumpkin is pretty small, you may need to double the recipe for a "normal" sized pumpkin.
Some suggestions from the bottom of the original recipe:
Instead of bread, I've filled the pumpkin with cooked rice—when it's baked, it's almost risotto-like. And, with either bread or rice, on different occasions I've added cooked spinach, kale, chard, or peas (the peas came straight from the freezer). I’ve made it without bacon (a wonderful vegetarian dish), and I’ve also made it and loved, loved, loved it with cooked sausage meat; cubes of ham are also a good idea. Nuts are a great addition, as are chunks of apple or pear or pieces of chestnut.
This is on my to-make list this month and sounds very yummy! My friend has never let me down with any of the recipes he posts so this is a good one ladies!