Stuffed pumpkin, often referred to as “Stephanie’s Halloween Dip” is a favorite of my radio partner Stephanie March. It’s a sinfully delightful dish where a whole pumpkin is hollowed out and then filled with a flavorful mixture of ingredients, usually a combination of various cheese, bread, herbs, and sometimes proteins, and topped with cream. Dorie Greenspan was one of the first places I saw the recipe, but in her cookbook, she mentions first having this dip with her friend Helene. Like many delicious recipes, once you make it, it becomes your own.
1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 - 3 cups stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss or Cheddar or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 medium cloves garlic cloves coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
2 cups Spinach or Kale
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Rosemary leaves
About 1/3 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment
- Cut a large hole in the top of the top of the pumpkin so you can get the seeds and fiber out like carving a Halloween pumpkin.
- Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet.
- Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, spinach and herbs together in a bowl.
- Pack the mixture into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled.
- Put the lid on the pumpkin and cover the handle in foil
- Bake the pumpkin for about 90 minutes—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.
- Remove the lid and cook 30 minutes more
- When the pumpkin is ready, carefully place it on a platter or in a large shallow bowl for serving
- You can spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoon.
- You can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up.
- You can serve on slices of crusty bread
- You can also cool a bit and try to serve sloppy slices
The specific ingredients used to stuff the pumpkin can vary widely, depending on the recipe and your personal preferences. Common fillings for stuffed pumpkins can be similar to what you might use to stuff squash like:
- Rice or grains like quinoa, barley, or couscous.
- Chopped vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and carrots.
- Herbs and spices for flavor, like thyme, rosemary, sage, or garlic.
- Protein sources like ground meat, sausage, or tofu for vegetarian options.
- Nuts or dried fruits, such as raisins or cranberries, for added texture and flavor.
- Cheese for a creamy and cheesy texture.
This stuffed pumpkin comes together with cream and cheese and is a visual stunner, making it a popular choice for festive occasions, particularly during the fall and Thanksgiving seasons. It’s a great way to showcase the season’s flavors and create a memorable party appetizer or centerpiece for a meal.