Stuffed Pumpkin

Stuffed Pumpkin
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stp_004About a week before Thanksgiving, our local paper ran a recipe for Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. Since we had a small pumpkin at home and we’d planned to make stuffing, we thought, “sounds good, let’s try it!” And that, in a pumpkin shell, is how we decided on one part of our Thanksgiving Day dinner. Now, we know that it’s too late for your Thanksgiving Day dinner, but there are other holidays approaching, or you could even consider this for another special occasion. Failing that, bookmark this page and come back next Thanksgiving.

We like this recipe because it’s so flexible. Sure, they suggested something for the stuffing, but, we figure that if you have a favorite stuffing you already make, just do that, rather than following our recipe. After all, this recipe is completely different from the original (well, the heavy cream and cheese come from the original version).

Stuffed Pumpkin

Yield: 1 stuffed pumpkin

Stuffed Pumpkin


  • 1 small pie pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1 large dried shiitake mushroom, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Stale bread cubes
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8-10 fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 8-10 leaves fresh sage, minced
  • 4 ounces strong cheese, grated
  • About 1/3 cup heavy cream

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut top from pumpkin and scrape the stringy pulp and seeds from the inside. Season inside with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine wild rice, shiitake, pecans, bread cubes, onion, garlic, fresh mushrooms, sage, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to incorporate.

Fill pumpkin with stuffing and pour heavy cream over everything, allowing it to soak in. Replace pumpkin top and place on a baking dish.

Bake until pumpkin is very soft, about 2 hours, removing top for last 30 minutes.

To serve, use a large spoon to scrape out a mixture of pumpkin meat and stuffing.

Ingredient discussion:

As we said above, if you have a favorite stuffing recipe, use that, although we will say that adding nuts, such as pecans, makes for a really great stuffing. We happen to like wild rice in our stuffing; it gives a nice earthy flavor, but it does take time to cook. You can see how we make it in our post for the Angry Trout Wild Rice.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

cleaning pumpkin
Cleaning out pumpkins is no one’s favorite chore, so reward yourself by roasting the seeds.

Clean pumpkin. This is the most difficult part of making stuffed pumpkin. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut off the top of the pumpkin, just as though you were making a small jack o’ lantern. Using a spoon, scrape out all the stringy pulp and seeds. You can discard the pulp and seeds, or, do as we do, and separate the seeds to roast up as a snack. Once the pumpkin is clean, sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper and set aside. We forgot to add the salt and pepper, but ours was still good.

making stuffing
Stuffing is the ultimate when it comes to flexible ingredients; just use whatever you think is good.

Make stuffing. In a large bowl, combine everything except the heavy cream. Give it all a good stir, then season with salt and pepper and stir again. Now, you might have more stuffing than you need; you’ll know in a bit. If so, we just moisten the excess with liquid (stock, water, or wine) and bake in a buttered baking dish for about 30 minutes.

stuffing pumpkin
Feel free to press the stuffing in, but just don’t mash it down too much.

Stuff. Before adding any liquid, fill the pumpkin with stuffing. Don’t be afraid to pack it down; don’t jam it all in or the pumpkin will burst, but pressing it in won’t hurt.

stp_003Add cream. Pour in about 1/3 cup of heavy cream. You really can’t go wrong with the amount, so we don’t even measure, and, instead, just pour from the container. Pour slowly so the cream can soak into the stuffing, then add more as it soaks in. Place the top back on the pumpkin.

Bake. Place the pumpkin on a shallow baking dish and bake until the pumpkin is very tender, about 2 hours. For a crisper stuffing on top, remove the pumpkin top about 30 minutes before the pumpkin is done.

Serve. To serve, use a large spoon and scrape out a mix of pumpkin meat and stuffing.

We really liked this as a main dish. It was a great way to use a small pumpkin, and the stuffing stayed nice and moist as it absorbed some of the liquid from the pumpkin. Plus, the pumpkin would look nice as part of your dining table centerpiece. The one thing we’ll say is that this is best the first day. If you have leftovers, you can scrape out the pumpkin and stuffing, refrigerate, and reheat it the next day, but it won’t be the same. Four stars.

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