Friday, October 22, 2010

Recipe Friday: Savory Stuffed Sugar Pumpkin

Around this time of year here in the US, small sugar pumpkins are readily available and reasonable priced (mine was 67 cents per pound!) This is the recipe I said I'd made for you last Friday but was too sick and headache-y to write.  I am going to be making Recipe Friday a bi-weekly event. So no recipe tomorrow, but there will be one next Friday. Here are some ingredients from next week's recipe: honey, dried rosebuds, cream. Any guesses?

mmmm, gooey insides

Savory Stuffed Sugar Pumpkin

1 sugar pumpkin, ~3-6lbs.
~2-3 cups cheese(s), shredded or cubed (I cubed mine and used smoked Swiss/cheddar blend, sharp cheddar, and regular Swiss)
~2-3 cups shredded bread (day old and stale work wonderfully here)
herbs and seasonings of your choice (I used smoked paprika)
2-5 cloves of minced garlic or equivalent dried and powdered
2 eggs
~1/2-3/4 cup cream or half and half
salt and pepper

1. Cut the top off your pumpkin and remove all the seeds and stringy insides. Save seeds for roasting, which can be done at the same time as baking the pumpkin. 

 2. Shred bread and cube cheese(s).

Now you have a choice to make. You can either layer everything into your pumpkin as I did or mix it all together in a separate bowl, mix it all together and then put it inside the squash. I'll continue with the layering method as that was my choice and what I have pictures for. If you choose the bowl method, grab a bowl and skip to the egg part.

3. Layer ingredients inside pumpkin until full. My strata were like this: (bottom) bread, cheddar, powdered garlic, salt and pepper, bread, smoked Swiss/cheddar blend, smoked paprika, bread, powdered garlic, salt and pepper, smoked paprika, Swiss, garlic powder, smoked paprika.

Smoked paprika is my favorite savory spice. Just the thought makes my mouth water.

4. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk with cream, salt, pepper, and garlic until well blended. It will be a little thick and will coat the fork or whisk.

The mozzarella was just for snacking.

5. Pour mixture into pumpkin cavity (or bowl) over other ingredients being sure to get everything a little wet with it. Then put more paprika and pepper on top.

6. Replace the top you cut off earlier. This holds in all the steam so the pumpkin get cooked and everything gets all gooey and delicious without drying out. Put it on a lined baking sheet or inside a dutch oven (with no lid) if it's really large and the sides would need more support as they cook through.

Middle rack to ensure best all-around cooking.

7. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes to an hour or until sides of squash can be easily dimpled when pushed on with a wooden spoon.

8. When done, remove from oven and let rest 10-15 minutes to allow temperature to lower slightly and prevent the insides from drying out, kinda like a good roast.

9. After rest period, remove pumpkin top and admire the gooey, wonderful smelling insides.

mmmm, gooey insides
10. Cut into serving sized pieces and plate or scoop out everything and mix it all up. I chose to just plate 1/4 pieces of the whole thing because it was all there was for dinner.

All in all this recipe is exceptionally easy to make and really, really ridiculously good tasting. There are so many variations that can be done also. Rosemary and thyme would be great herbs to use here. Or basil. Any number of spices or seasoning blends would be equally delicious. I personally think nutmeg along with smokes paprika on every layer would really make it top notch. This is also the kind of recipe that you can make as the main (or, in our case, only) course or mixed all together as a side. It also refrigerates and reheats really well, especially if you have it all off the skins and mixed up. If you try this recipe, let me know what you think and if you did anything different with it.

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