This recipe is an absolute show stopper. Individual pumpkins stuffed with bacon, cheese, bread, herbs and spices makes a dramatic and delicious presentation. It is not nearly as complicated to make as it looks; and it is a creative way to use whole pumpkins.
I first saw the recipe on PBS during a cooking segment by Dorie Greenspan. It was prepared in a large 3-4 lb pumpkin, and made a stunning centerpiece. Because I always take a practical view of cooking, I adapted the recipe to make individual portions, solving some of the challenges of transporting and serving the pumpkin. I also fiddled a bit with the seasonings to make it more to my liking.
Pumpkin is high in fiber and low in calories. Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. These nutrients contribute to maintaining a healthy weight, help to lower cancer risks and improve the immune system. Pumpkin is an excellent way to get more healthy, plant based foods into your diet.
You can make this recipe even more healthy by substituting faro or quinoa for the bread, and cutting the heavy cream in half with vegetable broth. To make this a vegetarian option, you can add sautéed spinach (well drained and chopped) and sautéed mushrooms. You can also bake your Thanksgiving stuffing in a pumpkin!
Serving:I like to serve the pumpkins as an individual entree. You can also slice into
wedges and serve as a first course. Pumpkins go nicely with a crisp fall
Savory Stuffed Sugar Pumpkins
- 2 sugar pumpkins each 1-1.5 pounds. I look for the smallest ones.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 pound stale bread or unseasoned stuffing mix 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 pound cheese such as Gruyere, swiss, cheddar, or a combination cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2-4 garlic cloves chopped
- 4 slices bacon sliced into cubes and cooked until crisp
- 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
- 1 tbs fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fresh sage chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream - more if needed
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Center a baking rack in the middle of the oven.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment.
Rinse outside of pumpkin to remove any residue and dirt.
Take a sharp knife and cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Cut at a degree angle and make the opening large enough to scrape seeds and loose pulp out of the pumpkin. Reserve seeds for toasting.
Scrape clean inside of the pumpkin and cap, and season well with salt and pepper.
Toss bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl.
Season heavy cream with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Combine bread and cream mixtures, mixing well until moist. Add more cream if needed, mixture should be moist, not too wet.
Stuff each pumpkin with the bread mixture until slightly overflowing, and place pumpkin caps on top of stuffing.
Bake for 1 hour. Remove caps and bake for 15-30 minutes more until pumpkins are done. Pumpkins should be soft to the touch, but not collapsing, when they are done.
Ninety minutes usually does it, but it can be sooner depending on pumpkin size.