Jay found this great recipe recently from NPR during a segment when they were interviewing Dorie Greenspan about her cookbook, Around My French Table. The recipe calls for stuffing and roasting a whole pumpkin. You will find lots of variations of recipes over the last couple years for stuffing pumpkins with some combination of these goodies (check out Epicurious and the NYT to see some others), but we certainly enjoyed this version. I wanted to be sure to share it before we all do our shopping this weekend for Thanksgiving.

We tried it out as a pre-Thanksgiving test to see if it is good enough to make the always evolving holiday menu. Short answer? It’s totally delicious, impressive looking, and surprisingly easy.

The prep time was minimal – maybe 15 minutes – as we filled the pumpkin with pieces of toast, crisped bacon, minced garlic, Gruyere and heavy cream. The cut out lid went into place once filled. It then went into the oven for a couple hours and turned out perfectly.

What did we learned from this recipe? Stuff anything with bacon, cheese and heavy cream… it will surely be delicious. The end product was a warm pumpkin-shaped bowl of delicious goo. It was savory, creamy, rich and everything amazing you want on Thanksgiving.

The recipe as written seemed a little long to us, (again, original version here on NPR’s site) so here is our version of how we made it:

  • 2-3 stale bread slices, cut into 1″ pieces
  • one heirloom pumpkin, scraped of seeds and pulp
  • 4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 T. thyme
  • dash of nutmeg
  • butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking pan with parchment.
  2. Crisp the bacon in a skillet. Remove once done. Drain most of the oil, leaving about 1 T.
  3. Toast stale bread crumbs and minced garlic in the same skillet for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cup a hole in the top of the pumpkin like you would do on Halloween, cutting in at an angle so the lid doesn’t fall in. Remove the seeds and pulp inside the pumpkin and discard. Rub the inside walls and underside of the lid with butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Fill the pumpkin first with stale bread crumbs and garlic. Then add Gruyere and pour in heavy cream. Add remaining spices. Position lid into place, set on baking rack, and slide carefully into the oven.
  6. Cook the filled pumpkin for 1 1/2 hours. Check on it and remove the cap. Then bake an additional 30 minutes so the filling can brown a little.
  7. Be careful when you remove the baked pumpkin as it will be heavy and delicate. We brought our to the table and scooped out servings.

We used an unknown heirloom pumpkin from the farm, but something like a Rouge Vif D’Etampes also called a Cinderella pumpkin would be lovely and tasty. We enjoyed the baked pumpkin with fat pork chops, teeny tiny roasted potatoes and a side of the applesauce I made this fall. It’s a versatile enough recipe to make throughout the winter or on special occasions. Yum!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson