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Stuffed Pumpkin

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    Posted: 27 October 2011 at 16:35
Well I made a big batch of golabkis yesterday and had about a pound of stuffing left over, so in the spirit of the season I decided to pick up a couple of sugar pumpkins and stuff them too. I also picked up a couple of chubs of plain old Jimmy Dean sausage in case I needed them.

First I just scalped the victims and gutted them with no remorse whatsoever.


Also made sure I saved the seeds for a lady friend who likes to bake them up for football game snacks.


Diced up a little more celery and some scallions because I didn't think there was enough in my leftover Polish stuffing.


Seasoned the inside of the pumpkins with salt and pepper and then mixed all the ingredients well.....also added some diced cheddar cheese.


Rubbed the outside of the pumpkins with olive oil and stuffed them as full as I could get them.

 

Popped them into a 350 oven with their lids on for 90 minutes, then removed the lids, topped with freshly grated pecorino romano and baked for another 30 minutes to crisp up the stuffing.


They came out looking pretty darned good, and tasting even better...sure glad I tried this....won't be the last time.


Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2011 at 16:41
dave, that is some great-looking fall food! i am loving it, and definitely want to give it a shot!  good grief, i am loving that picture with the baked cheese as they come out of the oven!
 
huge kudos for trying something new and making it look really good! i'll see if i can give this a go, either with our meatloaf or perhaps with our holubky (slovak version of cabbage rolls) filling ~
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 October 2011 at 02:46
I highly recommend trying it Tas....I would also recommend the addition of some chopped apple, or walnuts or both...perhaps some cranberries or raisins as well. I did a very basic recipe and I believe it can be greatly improved with those additions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 November 2011 at 19:18
i typed a whole commentary on this experience in the context of weeknight cooking, but lost it all, so here's the readers digest version, and i will definitely elaborate when i can!
 
here's my stuffing formula, which ironically made exactly enough for 4 pumpkins:
 
2 lbs lean burger
1 lb thick-cut smoked bacon, diced and pre-cooked to eliminate most of the fat
1 bunch spring onions, chopped fine
2 large garlic cloves, minced
salt-n-pepper
2 eggs
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, diced
1 can cream of celery soup
 
the last two ingredients especially might be considered cheating a little, but we're talking about weeknight cooking here with what's available. i really wanted to try apples in this as per dave's suggestion, and i also needed some sort of binder such as rice, oatmeal.....or breadcrumbs..... the stuffing provided both, plus a few herbs and spices to add to the party. the apples are dehydrated of course, but there should be plenty of moisture to reconstitute them during cooking. the soup added moisture as well as flavour since there was no celery in the house.
 
it's in the oven now, and smelling pretty good so far! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 November 2011 at 03:30
It sounds like you're going to take this dish right over the top Ron....can hardly wait to see an update!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 November 2011 at 07:19
well i can definitely say that this was good! i enjoyed it thoroughly and it was perfect for a crisp autumn evening. the pumpkins came out looking great, smelling great and tasting wonderful ~ my basic idea was definitely sound! the apples did come forward as i had hoped they would, and made themselves known. also, the cream of celery soup played its part well, giving some moisture and a good depth of flavour that worked well with the pumpkin. the smoky bacon and tangy cheese worked their magic as well, adding to the depth and deliciousness of this simple, yet satisfying comfort food.
 
a few minor execution problems that were entirely my fault:
 
first, they were a little under-done. even though they spent 90 minutes in the oven, i think another half-hour would have been good to firm up the stuffing and finish cooking the pumpkin, onions and garlic. the meat was technically "done," where temperature was concerned, but i have noticed with meat-stuffing dishes at a little extra cooking can be a good thing in order to develop the dish.
 
speaking of the onions and garlic, even though i used what would normally be a modest amount of both, they came through very strong in the dish, possibly due to being under-done as described above. a solution might be to pre-cook these components a bit, which i do in many dishes such as holubky, meatloaf or any ground-meat dish that has a filling of onions and garlic.
 
also, it would be a good idea to back off the bacon and cheese just a bit, maybe by a quarter or a third; this isn't absolutely necessary, but i think it would bring everything into balance. also, i would recommend maybe adding a half or a whole "real" chopped apple to give it a boost and take it over the top. the pre-cooking of the bacon worked well, eliminating a huge amount of fat whicle still adding flavour and moisture; also, the cheese on top at the end made a wonderful, savory crust. the stuffing itself was a good choice for this dish, and could be used in place of rice or oatmeal anytime, depending on the direction one wishes to take with this.
 
finally, i thought i mixed the meat stuffing well enough, but not quite - it's important to make sure it all gets mixed together thoroughly so that all the flavours and textures can be evenly distributed throughout - a potato masher can help with this, or a person could even use electric beaters, i suppose. this simply helps with consistency of the final product.
 
one other note - i packed the pumpkins tight and full, and consequently, they did expand a bit when cooking. a person might want to fill only to within an incho or so of the top, if they wish to serve the pumpkins with the tops on for presentation purposes. for our use, it was just fine as-prepared, but it is something to keep in mind.
 
these notes aside, this idea and method are sound, and will deliver guaranteed results. this is one unique dish that will really please a crowd and be a perfect fall or winter weather food. where the pumpkin and stuffing were completely cooked through, they were magnificent, and i am indebted to dave for giving me this idea and guidance to make it well. if anyone tries it, with the tweaks mentioned above or with a twist or two of their own, they will love it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 November 2011 at 12:26
here are the pictures that go with the post above ~ as you can see, they look beautiful coming out of the oven!
 
 
a close-up of the top shows all that golden-crusty goodness of the cheese:
 
 
i'll admit, i probably have a little too much cheese, but this was a first attempt, and all-in-all, there were no complaints!
 
after letting them rest a few minutes, we cut them open, and they sure looked great:
 
 
you can see where maybe another half-hour of baking would have helped the stuffing a little, but even as it was, but this sure tasted good!
 
if anyone wants to give this a try, i highly recommend it. you can use my stuffing, dave's, or make one up of your own using your favourite flavours of autumn. the stuffing can really be anything you like, even meatless, if that's what you prefer. the important thing is to try it, because this is a perfect time of year for it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 November 2011 at 02:33
Ron...what an outstanding job! I can almost taste it through the screen. 
There no such thing by the way, as too much cheese. Can't happen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 November 2011 at 17:48
hey dave, thanks! as for the cheese - i know you're right, but i gotta say what i said, in case my doctor is looking at this post!Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2013 at 02:44
Bumping this thread just because it's that time of the yearWink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 November 2013 at 18:42
 Tonight, I made some stuffed pumpkins as part of a pumpkin-themed contest for a cast iron cooking group that I belong to on Facebook. Considering the time of year and the snow that was gently falling outside, my goal was to achieve an autumny, New-Englandy kind of kind of end product, and I think I hit pretty close to the mark.

Here are the components I used, based on my above-stated theme and our house meatloaf recipe; some of the ingredient amounts are "to taste," so adjust accordingly as you wish.

Quote Ron's "New-England-in-November" Stuffed Pumpkins
  • 4 sugar pumpkins, perhaps 7 to 8 inches in diameter (that's a guess)
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound thick-sliced maple-cured or apple-smoked bacon, diced into about 1-inch squares
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs (I used 4, but I think that might have been over-kill)
  • 1 "large" can of Campbell's vegetable beef soup (not alphabet soup)
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste (maybe 2 tablespoons)
  • About half a bag of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing crumbs and seasoning (give or take)
  • About 4 oz dried cranberries (more if you want)
  • 8 oz extra-sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you probably won't need much salt - if any - because of the salt content of the other ingredients)
Cook the bacon in a large-diameter (12- to 13-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-low heat until it is fairly-well rendered. Pour off most of the bacon fat, then add the diced onion and sauté it over medium heat until the pieces are translucent. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic and stir it into the bacon and onions for a couple of minutes, then remove the skillet and allow the mixture to cool as you hollow out the pumpkins, reserving the tops.

For the stuffing, combine the ground beef, eggs, vegetable soup, Worcestershire sauce, stuffing mix and cranberries. Mix everything thoroughly by hand or with an old-fashioned, hand-held potato masher. By now, the bacon/onion/garlic mixture should be cooled enough to work it into the stuffing by hand until it is thoroughly incorporated. Add pepper to taste (and salt, if desired), then gently work in the cubes of cheddar cheese.

Rub a little salt and pepper into the inside of the pumpkins, then fill them with the stuffing mixture. Set the tops on the pumpkins and place them into cast iron pans or Dutch ovens and bake them in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the pumpkins and stuffing are cooked thoroughly. Remove from the oven,and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the tops, cut the pumpkins vertically into 4 wedges each and serve.

And the photos - here we are, straight out of the oven:


The pumpkins looked really good - they were cooked throughout, and after about 10 minutes of resting were ready to cut:


I'd say that the sight you see here speaks for itself:


After cutting the pumpkins into wedges, they were ready to serve:


We've definitely got some good stuff going on here, guys; the sweet, tender pumpkin was full of fall flavour on its own, but when the savory stuffing was added, things really went into overdrive. The full-bodied beef and onions, the sweet/tart cranberries, the melty-tangy cheddar cheese, and the smoky bacon all sang in perfect harmony, bringing images of autumn, New England and comforting warmth on a grey day. All that was missing was a Robert Frost poem. 

Try it - you'll like it! Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 November 2016 at 16:18
We had some of these over the weekend - they are perfect for this time of year!

Recipe can vary as much as you want...try your favourite meatloaf recipe in here, or go with a seasonal theme. You can even use up some things in the pantry and refrigerator...it's up to you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 October 2017 at 12:10
I'm bringing this back to the top for two reasons:

The first is that - looking out the window - it is perfect weather for this meal up here in north-central Montana. The temperatures are in the low 30's, the wind is whipping around pretty good, and we have a rain/snow mess coming down; it's not sticking yet, but is expected to, and accumulations are expected to be noticeable, if not significant.

The second reason is that - unlike me - The Beautiful Mrs. Tas read the weather report yesterday and knew that this was coming, so she bought the ingredients for it!

We have been enjoying the addition of dried cranberries into the stuffing mixture, and happen to have some on hand. They make a nice counterpoint to the other ingredients and are perfect for this time of year. I am a fan of the extra-sharp Vermont cheddar cheese for this; however, this time around, we only have "regular cheddar cheese, so that is what we will use.

It's certainly getting to be that time of year - if you haven't already tried this wonderful meal, why not give it a shot?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 October 2017 at 17:42
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:


It's certainly getting to be that time of year - if you haven't already tried this wonderful meal, why not give it a shot?
I have made this myself in a cast iron dutch oven on my smoker grill and I'll second this proposal. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2017 at 15:23
I like it - looks great!
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