So when one of our PEOPLE food editors tasted this stuffed pumpkin concoction at a potluck party recently, she knew the recipe had to be shared.
The dish from chef Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table fills a hollowed-out pumpkin with only the yummiest ingredients — bread, cheese, bacon, cream and more.
It is a guaranteed party hit, and allows you to make it your own: Sub in your favorite cheeses and breads or leave out the bacon for a vegetarian-friendly option. Plus, the pumpkin serves as an edible serving bowl, which means less cleanup for you.
Now put that pumpkin you’ve been meaning to carve to good use and bake it into something delicious.
Dorie Greenspan’s Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
Makes 2-4 servings
1 medium pumpkin, about 3 pounds
Freshly ground pepper
¼ pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into ½-inch chunks
¼ pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into ½-inch chunks
2–4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 strips cooked bacon, chopped
¼ cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
⅓ cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin.
2. Using a very sturdy knife, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin so there is enough room to make it easy to work inside the pumpkin. 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 on the baking sheet or in the pot.
3. Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well-filled. In a separate bowl, stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin.
4. Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours 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. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, remove the cap during the last 20 minutes so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown. Carefully transfer the pumpkin to a platter and serve immediately.