Saturday, November 29, 2008

stuffed pumpkins

It's fall. I'm full of Thanksgiving leftovers and I feel the need to write something about Yann's amazing stuffed pumpkin recipe. People keep asking me for the recipe and so here it is...

Two Octobers ago I spent Halloween with my dear friend Yann in a tiny village, Privas, in the south of France. In honor of the American holiday and his American guest, Yann threw a murder mystery dinner party. The menu for the evening centered around this incredible stuffed pumpkin. It was unbelievably good! I had Yann send me the recipe, but never really had a chance to make it.

Then this past October, my brother got married in LA and I decided to make stuffed pumpkins for a big dinner with the two families. I found 6 beautiful heirloom pumpkins here in the Bay Area and drove them down to LA with me. 

My mother and sisters and I spent an entire afternoon stuffing these beauties. And again, the results were a huge hit. One of the best parts was comparing the different textures, colors, and flavors from each pumpkin. They were all wonderful, with the same stuffing, but the results were quite different.

Finally, on November 4, Chris and I threw an election party and decided to serve up some stuffed pumpkin for our guests as we waited for the results to come in. Again, everybody loved it!

This recipe is simple, rich and hard to mess up. I think my sister made it for some friends recently and it was a big success. The recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on the pumpkins you have available. The important thing is to make sure your pumpkin fits in your oven. We had some difficulties first time around with Yann's tiny, european oven...

Bon appétit!

Yann's Stuffed Pumpkin

  • 35-40 cm (large) pumpkin, top cut off (reserve) and seeds removed
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • ½ loaf white bread, diced
  • 3 bulbs garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 shallots, diced
  • ½ pound mushrooms, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds bacon, diced 
  • 16 oz comté (or gruyère or similar cheese), grated
  • 2-6 tbsp pumpkin jam (optional)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups crème fraîche
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400°F

Sauté the parsley and bread in 4 tbsp butter in a large sauté pan until browned. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and sauté the shallots and mushrooms in the remaining butter until soft. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a clean bowl and cook the bacon in the pan until browned.

In the pumpkin, layer in the following order: bread, bacon, mushrooms, cheese, pumpkin jam. Repeat the layers until the pumpkin is almost full. Add the wine and crème fraîche, stopping 2cm from the top. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Cut a small vent hole in the lid of the pumpkin and place it on top. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and bake for 2-3 hours or until the pumpkin is soft and the filling is bubbling through the lid. Remove carefully from the oven!

Stir the stuffing inside the pumpkin and serve each scoop of stuffing with a portion of flesh from the inside of the pumkin.



Harriet Toothfighter said...

And my hand is still orange from scooping out the pumpkins. . . okay, not really. I just have to add here, though, that these were the most delicious pumpkins I have ever eaten. I still dream about them. In a good way.

Teenie said...

And I would say make sure you have more stuffing than liquid. That was the only mistake we made.

cay said...

PS the burnt cheesy goodness was by far the most delicious part. Just sop it up with some good, hearty bread.

James the Great said...

I have to be honest here. My tummy was a little nervous that evening and I didn't end up really eating as much stuffed pumpkin as I would have liked. I really thought they tasted marvelous and and so glad you made them! They were delicious! I think I'll have to try making some myself. If I could go back, though, I'd make sure my tummy wasn't nervous so I could eat TONS of pumpkin. (PS: I never asked if they made those pumpkins for Watts family Sunday dinner or not. I wonder...)