- 1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds (I used 2 small pie pumpkins)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (1 c. croutons)
- 1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2–4 garlic cloves (to taste) coarsely chopped
- 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped (I used Jimmy Dean sage sausage)
- About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
- 1/2 cup pecans
- About 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a glass pan with Pam, to prevent pumpkin from sticking.
Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). 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 in the baking pan.
Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, sausage, and scallions together in a bowl. Season with pepper, and salt 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 salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It's hard to go wrong here.) I just put the extra mixture in another dish and baked it alongside the other.
Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 45 mins to 1 hour—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. You can also take the pumpkin top off for the last 20 minutes to brown. I sliced the pumpkins into fourths to serve.
Additional personal notes: I don't ever seem to have "stale" bread around. It's either fairly fresh, or green...so I toasted 4 pieces of wheat sandwich bread slices. Instead of bacon, I used a pkg. of Jimmy Dean sage sausage. Heat up a saute pan, crumble the sausage and cook until no longer pink, then drain grease. I did use gruyere cheese, because it's just so creamy, and decadent. I also added a cup of homemade croutons (I always keep a baggie full of croutons I made with bakery bread of whatever type, that are tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Then toasted in 350 oven for 15 or so minutes, until dried out and toasty.) I added the garlic, green onion tops, and pecans.
I used 2 fairly small pie pumpkins (5 -6 inches diameter). I did have a little extra stuffing, so I baked it in a separate smaller pan. Both pumpkins were fork tender in about 45 minutes. If using a bigger pumpkin, it may take longer.
This would make a great side dish, or main meal. Hope you enjoy!