Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we don’t toss around the Signature Dish moniker lightly. If we label a recipe as a Signature Dish, you can rest assured that the recipe is a guaranteed, crowd pleasing success. Savory Stuffed Pumpkin fits the bill!
In the photos shown, we’ve used a large pie pumpkin (about 12 inches in diameter). If you’d like, you can substitute six small (4 – 5 inch diameter) pie pumpkins – just reduce the final baking time by about 30 minutes. Can you use a fresh Halloween pumpkin? Well, sure – pumpkins grown for Jack-o-Lantern purposes are perfectly edible, but their flavor is hit or miss. For guaranteed rich flavor, we recommend using a pie pumpkin. They’re readily available at farm stands and supermarkets throughout autumn.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
1 large pie pumpkin (about 12 inches diameter)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 mini loaf of day old French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 10 cups)
2 tablespoons butter (or vegan alternative)
1 apple, diced (don’t peel)
1/4 cup raisins (or craisins)
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups good quality chicken stock, divided (or use vegetable broth for vegan option)
Step 1) Carefully cut a wide circle around the top of the pumpkin to remove the top. Use a large metal spoon to scrape out the inside of the pumpkin. (Save the seeds for a future recipe!)
Step 2) Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the inside of the pumpkin with olive oil, then sprinkle with seasoning salt. Place the pumpkin in a 9×13 baking pan, with the pumpkin top on the side – not covering the pumpkin – and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Step 3) While the pumpkin bakes, saute the apple, raisins, celery, walnuts, sage, salt, and pepper in 2 tablespoons of butter. When apple and celery are slightly softened, remove from heat and toss with the bread cubes in a large bowl.
Step 4) Be PATIENT with this step… using only 1/4 cup of chicken stock at a time, drizzle chicken stock lightly over the bread mixture. Gently toss, then repeat, until about 2 cups of chicken stock have been uniformly absorbed. If bread is still mostly dry, an additional cup of chicken stock (again, 1/4 cup at a time) may be added.
Step 4) After 30 minutes, remove pumpkin from oven. The pumpkin will only be partially baked at this point; that’s fine. Gently spoon stuffing into the pumpkin. (Don’t pack the stuffing in too tightly; extra stuffing can always be baked next to the pumpkin in a separate, buttered dish!) Cover the pumpkin loosely with foil and return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.
Step 5) After an additional 30 minutes have passed, remove the stuffed pumpkin from the oven. Remove the foil. If the top of the stuffing is dry, drizzle chicken stock (1/4 cup at a time) over the stuffing until it is just softened.
Poke the pumpkin flesh near the top of the pumpkin with a fork. If the pumpkin is done baking (as mini pumpkins may be), the fork will go into the pumpkin easily. If the fork meets resistance, your stuffed pumpkin will need to bake for an additional 20 – 40 minutes. Re-cover loosely with foil and return your stuffed pumpkin to the oven. Check every 20 minutes to see if your pumpkin is thoroughly baked. Be patient… a well baked pumpkin will taste like caramel deliciousness, but an under-baked pumpkin… not so much!
Step 6) At last, your Savory Stuffed Pumpkin is ready to enjoy! Transfer to a serving platter by carefully lifting with two oven mitts. To serve, cut wedges from the center of the stuffing out to the sides, right through the pumpkin peel (this will be very easy). Enjoy!