Cooked my last sugar pumpkin the other night. They keep pretty well in the cellar for most of the winter. I was pleased to see this one was still good, I’ve had others start to rot this far into the winter. One of my favorite ways to prepare, cook and serve pumpkin is to stuff it and bake it. NPR (national public radio), did a segment on stuffed pumpkin a few years ago and that has been my inspiration.
Cut the pumpkin open as you would a jack-o-lantern, remove the top with the stem attached and scoop out the seeds and fibers. Rub the inside with salt and pepper and place in a 2′ deep pan or oven proof casserole dish. Sometimes they can collapse when cooked, the 2′ high pan saves a major oven clean-up.
What can you stuff it with?? The short answer is just about anything. This is what I have used.
- Bread, cubed and dried, any kind, white, wheat, rye (very good), pumpernickel and heals are great for this.
- Cooked sausage, sweet or hot ( casing removed )
- cooked bacon
- Onion, diced or minced
- Cheese, what ever kind you my have, I like Feta
- Heavy cream 1/2 to 1 cup.
This time I sauteed up some sweet sausage, minced onions and pressed garlic in a little olive oil, this can be done ahead and refrigerated. I then mixed this with bread cubes from 1 slice of white and 2 slices of rye and the feta cheese (maybe a quarter cup). Stuffed the pumpkin and then poured in the heavy cream. Place the stemmed top on and bake at 350-375 degrees for about an hour or until the pumpkin is cooked. Pumpkin should pierce easily with a fork when done. Cut into wedges and serve. This isn’t always pretty when cut. Removing the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin is sometimes ungraceful but it needs to be done.
I didn’t give a lot of quantities because pumpkins come in different sizes and I mostly “wing it” . I like the smaller pumpkins, they work well for just the wife and I. Also, you don’t need a lot of stuffing, I always have too much and I did this time. I save the extra stuffing and fry it up with a scrambled egg for breakfast, quite good.
Somehow I put in too much garlic this time, I felt real bad for anyone I had to talk to, face to face, for a couple of days.
In the summer I do this with my Patty Pan squash. It makes a very pretty dish. Looks good and tastes good.