Something I miss about living in the U.S. or Canada is Thanksgiving and Halloween. Not so much the costume and ¨horror¨of Halloween, but the event of picking out a pumpkin and carving it or preparing a special pumpkin dish. Pumpkin is not so popular here in Spain, especially cooking or baking with it. They have no idea what they are missing. The pumpkin is sold at exhorbitant prices because suddenly Halloween is ¨hip¨in Spain. I think it is silly but the big event for me now is not only carving a pumpkin but attacking the 50% off prices of pumpkins after Halloween! I bake the pumpkins, puree them and freeze them! That being said, I found a gorgeous recipe for a fresh pumpkin that just has to be shared. I adapted this recipe from Dorie Greenspan.
Here is this year´s pumpkin.
I know…terrifying! I just don´t enjoy getting the crap scared out of me!
So..on to the recipe. I found a recipe from Dorie Greenspan for a baked stuffed pumpkin and it was WONDERFUL! My husband, who is Spanish and never tried anything like this before, nearly went bananas. He loved it! The original recipe includes chunks of bread but I replaced them with cooked rice.
The recipe is flexible and EASY! (Really!)
1 pumpkin about 3 pounds
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into chunks or about a cup of cooked rice.
1/2 pound of diced Emmental or Gruyere cheese. (You can also make a combination of both. I used just Emmental)
2 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
About 3/4 cups of chopped cured ham. The original recipe used strips of bacon but I used a good quality cured ham instead,
You decide what you like best!
About a 1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped roasted walnuts
1 tablepoon of fresh thyme
About a cup of cooked spinach
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350.
I baked the the pumpkin on a large glass round pyrex dish. I greased the dish first with a bit of oil and placed the pumpkin on top.
Carve the top of the pumpkin out. Clean out the seeds and stretchy bits. When it is clean and smooth, season generously with salt and freshly gound pepper.
Mix all of the ingredients except the cream. Then add the cream. You want your misture to be coated in the cream only. It should not be swimming in a cream sauce!
Fill the pumpkin generously.
Put the cap on the pumpkin and bake for about 2 hours. Check after about 90 minutes but keep in mind that all ovens are different! In the last 20 minutes or so, remove the cap to let some extra steam and liquid escape.
Serve hot but I tried this cold and it was pretty nice too!
It is great the next day. Even better, really.
You can substitute the walnuts for chestnuts. You can also use other types of meat if you want! Hard to go wrong! Or eliminate the meat altogether and make it vegetarian! YOU decide! I had a little extra pumpkin leftover from carving and threw it in. Delicious!
Keep in mind that every pumpkin is shaped differently so you may need a bit more or less of the stuffing depending upon the size of your pumpkin!
Enjoy! xxxx Natascha