Tis the season for stuffing pumpkins! In the past few weeks I've seen pumpkins stuffed in all sorts of ways, this one is stuffed with bread, cheese, cream, chicken broth, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and baked in the oven for an hour! Some would liken it to a pumpkin soup, while others would think it was more like a gratin of sorts.
The is really more of a method than a true recipe. The amount of filling is truly based on the size of your pumpkin or the number of pumpkins you stuff. Honestly, the main idea is to clean out the pumpkin, stuff it with toasted bread, Gruyere cheese, more bread, more cheese (in layers), and then pour a mixture of chicken broth and cream over the bread and cheese. You need about half an inch of room left at the top for things to expand and you're ready to go in the oven.
This is a very fun and festive autumn project to enjoy on the weekend. Most of the time is is spent with the pumpkin baking away in the oven.
The pumpkin, bread, and cheese compliment one another perfectly. This is very tasty and comforting, but extremely rich so one small pumpkin would serve 4-6 easily. I can see topping this with some toasted walnuts or maybe some cooked and crumbled sausage. A very pretty fall dish that is fun for the whole family!
by Ruth Reichl
Serves 2-4, depending
1 pie pumpkin (about 4 pounds)
good loaf French bread
Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cream
salt and black pepper
*nutmeg, if desired
neutral oil, for coating pumpkin
Buy a fairly small pumpkin (a pie pumpkin is perfect - about 4 pounds) with a flat bottom. Cut off the top, as if you were going to carve a jack-o-lantern, and hollow it out. Spread the seeds out and dry them to eat later.
Now get a good loaf of French bread, cube it, put the cubes on a baking sheet and toast them lightly in a 350 degree oven for about 9 minutes. Leave the oven on.
Grate a good amount of the one of the Swiss cheese - Emmenthaler, Gruyere or Apppenzeller (the amount you need depends upon the size of your pumpkin. Layer the bread and cheese inside the pumpkin until it's almost full (leave a half inch on the top because the filling will expand a bit).
Mix 1 cup of chicken stock into a cup of cream. Add a teaspoon of salt. Grind in some black pepper and grate in some nutmeg. Then fill the pumpkin almost to the top with as much of this mixture as you need, replace the top of the pumpkin, brush the outside with neutral oil, set it on a baking sheet, and bake for about 2 hours.
Bring the whole pumpkin to the table. When you serve it be sure to scoop out the pumpkin flesh with the cheese and the cream.