French Fridays with Dorie: Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Is it already Friday again? Is Friday really almost over? This week’s challenge for French Fridays with Dorie was Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.

I loved the way this recipe sounded, but I was a little wary because I had tried a similar recipe from Ruth Reichl a few years back which, though it sounded amazing, it turned out flat and flavorless – disappointing to say the least. Melissa Clark also mentioned a Cheesy Baked Pumpkin in In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, which I read over the summer, so this sort of recipe was on my mind. I’ve never been one to give up on a delicious sounding idea, so when this recipe turned up on the list for this week, even though this recipe sounded similar to my previous failed effort, I wasn’t discouraged.

It was challenging for me to fit making this week’s recipe into my schedule. I wasn’t able to make it over the weekend, and with a 2 hour bake time, and wanting to eat dinner at a reasonable time, I wasn’t sure how to make it work. I ended up dicing up ingredients on Night #1, stuffing and baking the pumpkin on Night #2 and reheating said pumpkin in the microwave on Night #3. Not ideal, but it kept me in the game.

I have to say how surprised I was at how SMALL a 3 pound pumpkin is. Maybe mine was small because it was extra dense. I know that I couldn’t cut off the cap with any of several substantial kitchen knives I tried. I ended up using the little saws that come with the kits at the grocery store for carving fancy Jack-O-Lanterns. And, I broke two of them. Mine was one tough pumpkin.

I didn’t stray from Dorie’s suggestions for the filling: stale bread, diced Gruyère, crumbled bacon, thyme, scallions, and garlic. This went into the hollowed out sugar pie pumpkin and was doused with nutmeg-flecked cream. See what I mean about sounding amazing.

The filling was about twice as much as would fit in the cavity (I told you it was small). I put the remaining mixture in an oiled shallow baking dish, poured cream over it, covered it with foil, and baked it alongside the pumpkin for an hour.

My (small) pumpkin only needed to bake for 90 minutes for the flesh to become tender. The sides were actually still quite stable and upright. We had already eaten dinner while it baked, but I did sample the baked filling in the dish. It was crusty and cheesy and delicious.

Tonight, we ate the actual stuffed pumpkin for dinner. It was much better than my earlier failure, but I’m not in love with it. I’m thinking that if I try it again, I might dice up the pumpkin, or perhaps an easier-to-peel winter squash, combine it with the filling, add some cream and bake it like I did the extra filling for a hearty side dish.

I might have mentioned before how much pleasure I get out of cooking something good to eat from the discarded elements of a dish. I make applesauce from peels and cores, and, of course, there’s stock from vegetable peelings or chicken bones. For a snack, I tossed my pumpkin’s seeds with olive oil and a little za’atar and roasted them for about 15 minutes. Yum!

Finally, I wanted to mention the surprise October dusting of snow we got last night into this morning. It was gone by the end of today, but unusual nonetheless. Why do they call it Global Warming? We haven’t even had our first frost yet this fall. Climate Change seems to be the better term.

Find out what the other FFwD bloggers thought about the cheesy pumpkin. Last week, I accurately predicted a mixed bag due to the pissaladière’s anchovies. This week, I anticipate a lot of swooning. You can see for yourself here. We’re asked not to include the recipes in our posts, but the recipe can be found here You can also find this and hundreds of other great recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table

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Posted on 28 October 2011, in Autumn, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Your little pumpkin looks very delicious! We really enjoyed this one. Sorry it wasn’t a hit for you. I am intrigued with your pumpkin seeds and za’atar. It sounds like such a great way to spice them up. I will have to give it a try with my Halloween pumpkin. Have a great weekend!

  2. I was also concerned about the long bake time. Glad to hear it ended up being better than your earlier attempts!

  3. Oh, that dusting of snow looks really spectacular – originally from Montana I do miss the snow after 28 years in Palm Springs. Love your post, and loved that you were able to manage this over three nights – that’s planning!

    Happy French Friday and Saturday!

  4. Oh wow. I might be spending Thanksgiving in Cambridge with good friends and I’m not sure if seeing the snow in your house scares me or excites me about the visit. I thought I needed to season the pumpkin a bit more – while the bites with the stuffing were delicious, the ones without felt a little bland.I would definitely play with this recipe again.

  5. I was a “swooner”. I loved this recipe. Probably we’ll all try it again.

  6. Well, I’m definitely in there with the swooners, Betsy, because I really loved this. Maybe it was all the bacon and the extra bacon fat that I sauteed the kale in because I have been staying away from bacon lately, and probably my body was loving it. :) Sorry, you weren’t crazy about it. I have been hearing that the East coast is getting a storm. It is 80 degrees here and really hard to even think about snow right now although the ski resorts are supposed to open up this weekend in the Sierras. Hope you don’t get much more than that. It sure is pretty though. Have a great weekend!

  7. This is a great idea & I hope to get the chance to play around with it in the future (I also pretty much followed the recipe, because I wasn’t sure how it all was gonna work).
    We also had three inches Thursday & then got hit again last night. Ugh – it should really wait a month to snow.

  8. Glad you finally found a baked pumpkin recipe that worked! We loved this one.

    As for what we read at book club this month, it was The Night Circus, but Erin Morgenstern. Unusual, beautiful story, that we universally loved. Usually there’s at least one person in the group who didn’t enjoy that month’s book, but not this time. I’d definitely recommend it!

  9. I did not care for the flavor of the pumpkin itself, but when I removed all the
    stuffing and scraped the pumpkin out, I stirred it up really well and the blend
    was more tasty. We truly enjoyed the recipe and I hope Tricia and I can
    work this into our Thanksgiving dinner. As for the lovely winter storm that
    hit this area yesterday, I hope its not a sign of things to come. Happy
    Halloween.

  10. Well you seem to have predicted correctly for I am indeed swooning. This recipe was a big hit in my house and I can’t wait to make it again with slightly different ingredients. Just so many options to chose from. Sorry to hear that you didn’t love it, I do wonder if there is a difference in pumpkins and I almost wonder if yours was a little old because of how hard it was when you cut it. Who knows, just a thought.

  11. I dont think they are very big pumpkins to begin with. my husband had a hard time hollowing ours out, his hand wouldnt fit through the opening past two or three knuckles! LOL, looks like you managed to pull this one off though! It wasnt our favorite either…:)

  12. I really like your idea of dicing up the pumpkin and baking it with the other ingredients as more of a side dish. I was one of the ones that loved the recipe (good prediction!) but I do think it would be improved if the flavors were combined – i was left eating a lot of bland squash at the end.

  13. Looks gooey-good! And great for last weekend’s weather! We also lost power for a few days at my family’s house.

  14. I’m sorry you didn’t love this one. Dicing up the squash and baking it in a dish with the stuffing would be a good way to make this as a side dish for a holiday dinner.

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