Stuffed Pumpkins

A Very 'Pairings' Thanksgiving

Note from Chef Ed:

About a decade ago Jodie (Ed’s wife and Pairings Co-Creator) started listening to NPR religiously. She kept telling me how great it was. with shows. I scoffed at her.  I mean, Marketplace? Really? How boring does that sound? Oh, how wrong I was.

After driving Jodie’s car one day and forgetting to change the station away from KPCC, our local NPR station, I was hooked. I am now a happy convert and Kai Ryssdal groupie.

This is a recipe inspired by Dorie Greenspan as described to me through the airwaves by Lynne Rossetto Kasper from her show on NPR, The Splendid Table

Basically,a whole pumpkin, scooped out and then stuffed with bacon, cheese, bread, cream and other goodness. It’s perfect for a Thanksgiving dish, or any other fall indulgence when pumpkins become available. Throw in whatever you lying around my kitchen.

Inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s original recipe. Feeds one person per pie pumpkin. Pair with an Napa Chardonnay with a lot of flavor.

You can also make this as a side in a larger pumpkin to serve up to 6. Great for Thanksgiving.

1 “pie” or small pumpkin per person

Salt and pepper

2 or 3 slices of stale bread per pumpkin, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (alternatively you can use rice for a risotto-like interior)

1/8 pound cheese per pumpkin, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (Gruyere, Emmentaler, cheddar, or a combination of all three are all good choices. Buy what’s cheap)

1-2 garlic cloves per pumpkin, coarsely chopped

1 strip of bacon per pumpkin or ½ package of Bacon Ends & Pieces from Trader Joe’s or Fresh & Easy (or perhaps from your local butcher. Sausage meat, removed from its casing, also works well.)

½ pear per pumpkin (or apple)

1 Tablespoon walnut pieces per pumpkin

About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions

1 teaspoon dried thyme (use what herbs you have on hand, no need to buy anything you don’t normally have in your spice rack)

About ¼ cup heavy cream per pumpkin

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg for every pumpkin

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, wax or parchment paper.
  2. Just like making a Jack-O-Lantern, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to stuff it. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, then season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Make the stuffing by tossing the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, pears, walnuts herbs, and other dry ingredients together.
  4. Fill the pumpkins with this stuffing and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled.
  5. Stir the cream with the nutmeg together and pour it over the stuffing in each pumpkin. Adjust the level of cream to taste. Should get all the stuffing wet, but not make it swimming in cream either. (As Dorie states, it’s hard to go wrong here.)
  6. Put the cap in place, place the filled pumpkins on the baking sheet and bake the pumpkin for 70 minutes. Then remove the cap and continue roasting for 20 more minutes (90 minutes total) 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.
  7. When the pumpkins are ready, carefully transfer them to each plate. Guests may choose to eat from the center of the pumpkin or take large slices out of the roasted pumpkin. It is all edible.