OK, so maybe pumpkins everywhere aren’t actually rising up against the human race with demands of freedom or other inventive ways to use them. But they do seem to be growing in popularity within the culinary world. We all know and love the traditional pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup but if you do a little bit of research you will find some really great and delicious recipes containing our fall friend.
There are so many different varieties and colors of pumpkins out there that work very well in recipes while some others not so well. I would say the best way to find out is to go to your local pumpkin purveyor…..a.k.a. the farmer who is growing the little lovely. Your local farmers market is a great place to shop. However, Shelly and I prefer to go to a local pumpkin stand in Saratoga Springs, Hanehan’s Pumpkins. They have numerous varieties and are very knowledgeable with their product. What I like to do is get all of my pumpkins that will serve as carvers and decorations during Halloween and Thanksgiving and then sacrificing one for a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner.
Here is one of my favorite recipes that is easy to make and delicious to eat! Perhaps you’ll even serve it at your Thanksgiving table this year!
- 1 Pumpkin about medium in size or large if using a sugar pumpkin (I have used a Jack-O-Lantern and sugar types)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion
- Maple syrup (about 2-3 tablespoons)
- 1 large chopped apple
- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 6-8 oz. brick grated cheddar cheese. (A sharp cheese is best)
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
You are going to cook the pumpkin whole in a 375 degree oven for 80- 90 minutes. Place the pumpkin in a shallow dish with 1/4 inch of water and cover tightly with aluminum foil. You want the pumpkin tender so you can extract the flesh after scraping out the seeds. Leave at least a 1/4 inch of flesh in the shell. Chop the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces along with the stringy portion. (When cutting the lid remember to make it large enough for scooping out flesh and serving)
Heat the oil and add the onions cooking until tender. Add the maple syrup, apple, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add in one cup of the broth along with the pumpkin. Continue cooking until heated through.
Mix the cheese and bread crumbs in a separate and large bowl. Pour the pumpkin mixture over and mix well. You want the bread crumbs to be moist. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth mixing well. ( I like to get my hands into it to thoroughly mix)
The mixture goes back into the pumpkin shell and baked at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes depending on pumpkin size. Don’t forget to cover top with aluminum foil. When done remove aluminum foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes to get top golden brown.
Because the pumpkin is hot you will want to place it on a shallow dish or small plate for safe serving. If you don’t like how it detracts from the pumpkin another option is to bake the mixture in a dish and scoop it into the room-temperature pumpkin therefore not needing a plate as a base and allowing for easier passing of the dish. Enjoy!!