This dish would be an amazing choice for a vegetarian main dish for Thanksgiving. I feel a little bad telling you this now - first of all, you probably have your Thanksgiving menu planned, and second, sugar pumpkins are pretty hard to find this close to the holiday. I had to go to three different places yesterday (fighting my way through Thanksgiving grocery shoppers each time) to find them. But, even if you can't make it until next year, I want to tell you about this dish anyway, because it is awesome. The recipe is from Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite and Molly's recent post made me want to try it. I hosted a pumpkin & squash themed dinner party last night, and this was the perfect choice for a main course. It is pretty simple to prep, but nice enough to serve to guests. It comes out of the oven with pumpkin skin crackling and gooey cheese bubbling, and can be cut at the table. I'd say the Thanksgiving turkey has got some competition...
Pumpkin stuffed with bread and cheese
Adapted from In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite
6 (1-inch) slices of a baguette
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup milk
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
3 fresh sage leaves
1 spring of fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for rubbing pumpkin skin
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (3 - 4 pound) sugar pumpkin
5 ounces grated Gruyere cheese (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 deg F. Cut baguette slices in half lengthwise and then bake until the slices begin to get crisp and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove bread but leave oven on.
In a medium saucepan, combine cream, wine, milk, garlic, sage, and thyme. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and remove the garlic and herbs. Add the 1/2 tsp salt, nutmeg, and pepper and stir to combine well.
Cut the top off of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place the pumpkin in a baking dish. Put 1/3 of the bread slices in the hollowed out pumpkin, followed by 1/3 of the grated cheese, and 1/3 of the cream mixture. Repeat layering 2 more times. Replace the pumpkin lid. Rub the olive oil all of the pumpkin skin and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake pumpkin in 425 deg F oven until skin blisters and flesh is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow pumpkin to cool slightly, then slice to serve.