Monday, October 17, 2011

Stuffed pumpkin

For a few years in recent history, the pumpkin crop was pretty weak. As a result, there were canned pumpkin shortages everywhere. During that time, I developed an unusual obsession with having to get pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins each fall: not for decorating around the house, but for making my own pumpkin puree and hoarding it in the freezer. Last year, Dorie Greenspan published a recipe for a baked pumpkin stuffed with everything good. I followed the recipe exactly last year, and we were in love with this savory use of pumpkin. This year instead of using bread, I used brown rice. The pumpkin bakes up into a tender, edible serving vessel. The gruyere and heavy cream become a warm and oozy sauce for the rice, which is enhanced by the bacon and herbs.

I love that this recipe is so adaptable. You can use a variety of different substitutions based on what you have on hand, and measurements don't have to be exact. With the small pie pumpkin size and a leafy green salad, this makes the perfect dinner for two. I could easily see this being served as a Thanksgiving alternative for a vegetarian. Try it because pumpkin doesn't have to be reserved for just sweets.

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