Hate on, pumpkin haters, mock fall and decorative gourd season as you will. While you're out there throwing snark at pumpkin spice related items (just saying, some snark is deserved), I'm sitting on my couch dipping into a big ol' pumpkin stuffed with cheese and bacon. Now, who's #winning the season?
I found this recipe from the legendary Dorie Greenspan years ago, and I was just shocked at how easy it was to transform a silly old pie pumpkin (also called sugar pumpkin) into something more magical than a freaking carriage for a Disney princess. I have posted it on this site before, but it has somehow vanished in the mist, so here it is once again.
Smarch's Stuffed Pumpkin Dip Instructions
The thing is, it's not really about cups or tablespoons, it's just about filling your pumpkin.
1. Heat oven to 350. Gut a smallish pumpkin (about the size of a soccer ball, maybe 3 lbs.) like you were going to carve it. Don't get overly scrapey on the inside, just get the slimey stuff out. Save seeds for roasting later, chums.
2. Sprinkle a bunch of salt and pepper in the pumpkin and shake it around best as you can.
3. Grab a hunk of really seedy rustic bread, cube up or shred about a two cups of it. Throw it in the pumpkin.
4. Choose your cheese and cube it up, about 2 cups. I really like a mix of Gruyere, white cheddar, and Port Salut for this. But you could sneak some bleu in there, perhaps a knob of taleggio thrown in would be good, or Shepherd's Way Morcella would rock in this. So cheese cubed: toss it in the pumpkin.
5. Crisp up some bacon or prosciutto or pancetta or porky bits of your choosing in a pan. Drain or pat dry. Into the pumpkin they go.
6. Rough chop about 3 cloves of garlic (more if you're me). Rough chop a handful of lemon thyme. Rough chop a bunch of chives. Toss that business in with a little more S & P.
7. Now, put that stem cap back on for a second and give that old squash a good shake, tumbling all the bits around (you can also mix it with a spoon, or premix this all in a bowl and then place it in the pumpkin, but you will be missing a mock maraccas shaking opportunity).
8. Remove the top again and fill that baby with heavy cream. Don't sink the stuff, just sorta fill in the spaces until the cream reaches almost the top.
9. Place your pumpkin in a baking dish or dutch-oven pan. You can put it on a baking sheet, but it might be too soft to move before serving. Or it could collapse, so think about that. I've put them in a glass pie dish on a baking sheet, and served it in the pie dish for pretty pretty. Put the cap back on, wrap the stem in foil and stick it in the oven for two hours. Take the top off for the last 30 minutes to let the top brown. (If your top doesn't fit in the oven due to an enthusiatic stem, just cover the dip with foil.)
10. Remove when the pumpkin is easily pierced with the tip of a knife. I serve mine with a big spoon and a bunch of crostini. The KEY here is to drag the sides of the pumpkin into the cheese dip situation with every spoonful, this is not just a fondue vessel, this is the food!
It's just real good.