Because, dang it, I've been thinking about pumpkin for WEEKS but trying to hold off because I didn't want to ruin any surprises.
(No snickering, now.)
We caught the end of Punkin Chunkin and although I didn't get the whole story, I did gather that there was a guy who had been 2nd place against the same team for 20 years or so and had just finally launched the most awesome pumpkin launch ever, finally beating that team, and everyone was so super happy about it until a different team just inched them out of 1st place. Again.
I may have part of that story wrong but I think the point was, that sucks. Big time.
I have nothing to complain about.
I had some fun with Project Food Blog, but I'm about to have fun with this pumpkin week challenge I've cooked up for myself. Since Jake doesn't like pumpkin and I love it, I think I'll just over do it while I'm hanging out with my parents for the week and Jake doesn't have to be my taste tester. So I'm going to show you 7 pumpkin recipes (will I stop there?) in a row. You're probably pumpkin-fied already. If you're not sick of pumpkin, come back tomorrow for the sequel.
I've mentioned before that I've found a new love in Dorie Greenspan, and she has a stuffed pumpkin recipe that I tried and loved. It was so easy and good. But I did feel like it wasn't quite right for me. I've had some trouble finding a pumpkin that I liked as much baked as I like from a can. Really. Usually they come out quite bland, in fact, even though I've tried several varieties.
Deciding to switch this dish over to a kabocha and add a couple of flavor notchers seemed natural. Kabocha is my favorite pumpkin. It's much sweeter and has stronger flavor than pumpkin. Plus you can eat the skin. I don't want to deal with the peel when I bake a pumpkin.
People talk a lot about not forcing kids to eat food, and they'll eat if they're hungry, but my kid, at least, is just super cranky when hungry and doesn't really make logical conclusions regarding food and hunger and behavior in that state. Usually if I can get the first couple of bites past her clenched teeth she'll be happy enough to chew and swallow.
I have to apologize for the pictures. In Oregon it gets dark at 4 or so and I don't have the right lights. I was just saying to Da that food pictures have to be good, and here I am posting a not-so appetizing one. In my defense I'd say that Dorie's one isn't totally delicious looking and I still tried it.
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
My main tip for this recipe is that you can stuff a lot more bread in this than you think. Just keep pushing it down there until it's full and kind of packed together. Amounts vary HUGELY depending on the size of your pumpkin. Once you pack all the bread in there and are pouring the cream in, get a chopstick and poke down through the top a bunch of times to help the cream soak into the different areas. keep putting the cream in until you obviously can't pour in any more (this is only right if you actually really pack the bread in there).
- kabocha pumpkin (probably works with butternut squash or acorn squash as well)
- bacon, chopped
- gruyere, cubed (you could use another, but I love the gruyere. Don't you?)
- spinach, sauteed and squeezed until dry and chopped (I think Kale would be good here)
- good crusty bread, like ciabatta, french, or sourdough, diced into 1/2" pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- garlic, minced
- Turn the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the top off the pumpkin, around the stem. Remove the seeds and strings inside, scraping until smooth on the inside.
- In a bowl, toss bacon, gruyere, spinach, bread, salt and pepper. Ratios of the ingredients are like this: Bread 2:1 gruyere, bacon a few to several slices (depending on your tastes, really) and probably about a 1/2 Cup of spinach to 3 Cups bread.
- Once tossed, throw the mix into the pumpkin, packing tightly into all the spaces.
- Pour cream into the pumpkin and keep poking holes into the filling until the cream is soaked in and seems to be at the top.
- Place on the parchment lined baking sheet and bake until the pumpkin is tender when pierced. Check after an hour. My pumpkin in this case was a 3 lb pumpkin and it took about an hour.
- Cut into slices and serve, or scrape up the insides of the pumpkin into the filling and serve that way. Both ways are good!