Although it’s been feeling like spring has arrived in this part of the world, it is still two months away. So winter stew season continues and pumpkin or squashes can be both ingredients and containers. If you have a special dinner party coming up, here’s a great recipe from Edible Vancouver. The quantities and cooking time may vary slightly depending on the size and thickness of your pumpkin/squash.
- 1 pumpkin, about 8 to 10 inches (20-25cm) in diameter
- 8 oz (250g) cheese, grated (it’s fabulous with Gruyere, cheddar, or a combination)
- one 12-14 inch (30-35cm) baguette
- 1 Tbsp (15mL) butter
- 1 Tbsp (15mL) olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 3 clovest garlic, minced
- 1/8 cup (30mL) fresh sage, chopped
- 1/8 cup (30mL) fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups (625-750mL) good chicken or vegetable stock (as vegetarian option), preferably homemade
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cut off the top of the pumpkin and remove the seeds and strings. (This can be a little tiresome, but it’s the only labour-intensive part of this recipe. We found a grapefruit spoon worked well to finish it off.)
Heat butter and olive oil on low. Add shallot, garlic, and sage, and cook until sage goes brown and crispy. Add rosemary and cook, stirring, for another minute or two.
Cut the baguette into pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 in. square. Place a layer of bread, cheese and shallot-herb mixture in the bottom. Then top with more bread, more cheese, and more shallots and herbs, repeating until everything is used up and the pumpkin is full. Squish it down to compress the bread and cheese as much as possible. Then pour stock over it until the bread and cheese is well-saturated. Replace the pumpkin lid.
Bake at 350 F for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You want the pumpkin flesh soft, but not mushy, and you want to take it out of the oven before the structure collapses. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh from the sides to serve.
Serve with a green salad on the side. Makes 4 servings.