Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

appetizer holiday hors d'oeuvre Dec 05, 2020

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

I love this warm, gooey cheese-filled pumpkin dish by Dorrie Greenspan. It’s a wonderful dish as a spread with crostini on the side or as a side dish to dinner. Scoop out servings making sure that you scoop the pumpkin flesh as you go. I’ve adapted it slightly to my liking. Honestly, so can you by adding your favorite additions like:

  • Cooked, crumbled sausage

  • Chopped fresh sauerkraut

  • Finely diced, shallots, dill pickles, caramelized onions, smoked paprika … the list goes on.


  • 1 2-1/2- to 3-lb. Pumpkin - Cinderella,  Cheese pumpkin, Moschata, Pie pumpkin

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 lb. stale sourdough or mild rye bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

  • 1/4 lb. or more cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmental, aged cheddar (not mild), or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

  • 2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped

  • About 1/4 cup (or more if you love chives like I do) snipped fresh chives - 1/4 cup sliced scallions will also work

  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried

  • 1 tsp. minced fresh sage or 1/2 tsp. dried sage

  • Nice pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

  • About 1/3 cup heavy cream


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot – which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. You can also put parchment on the bottom of the pot. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell can be tricky.

  2. Using a very sturdy paring knife – and caution – cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.

  3. Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled – you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. You don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It’s hard to go wrong here.)

  4. Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours – check after 90 minutes – or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.

  5. When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully – it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly – bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.

  6. To serve, you have a choice – you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option.

Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

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