The temperature in the past few days has dropped and this is the time of year I start using the oven more. I was debating whether or not to make macaroni with blue cheese or to make this dish. I hadn’t been to Liebs Nursery in a few weeks and wanted to drop by to say hello and to see if they had pumpkins. As I drove to the nursery I thought of course they would have pumpkins especially with Halloween just around the corner! It’s always a pleasure going there. Michael, who has a background in botanical science (degree in plant conservation biology), is always friendly and shares his knowledge eagerly with me. I’m like a sponge soaking up everything he says but I usually have to write it down – that’s when my brain becomes a sieve! He handed me 2 baby Pam pumpkins which were perfect for this recipe.
adapted from Around My French Table
1 2-1/2- to 3-lb. pumpkin
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 lb. stale bread, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 lb. cheese (Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination), grated
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste) coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/3 cup heavy cream
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 180c (350f). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin – cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Remove seeds and stringy bits from the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and place on the baking sheet.
For the stuffing, toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and thyme in a bowl. Season with pepper. Place the stuffing into the cavity of the pumpkin and don’t be afraid to pack it in. Add the nutmeg to the cream and pour onto the top of the bread mixture. Place the cap back on the top of the pumpkin and bake for at least an hour (up to 90 minutes depending on how thick the skin is). Remove top and bake a further 20 minutes to allow the liquid to bake away and the top becomes golden brown.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: The pumpkin is ready when the skin is pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Removing the top and baking an additional 20 minutes allows the liquid to bake away leaving the stuffing moist and cheesy! The flavors from this dish were so good! Serve with a simply dressed salad. Enjoy!