Let me begin by saying there is a degree of “fly by the seat of your pants” when doing a whole roasted + stuffed pumpkin. Size and variety of pumpkin both play a part in how long it takes for it to cook through. That being said, it is an easy recipe as most of your effort is in prepping the pumpkin and ingredients. The rest is just hurry up and wait. I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in Around My French Table as my main guide as well as perusing a couple of other versions I found online.
Most people use pie pumpkins for this recipe for their small size. But I love a challenge so of course I bought an heirloom variety twice the size of a pie pumpkin. A fairytale pumpkin to be exact; approximately 6ish pounds. I can’t say for sure on weight as my kitchen scale doesn’t go that high. As most pie pumpkins are half that weight or smaller, you can see why I’m harping on “guide” here. Especially since heirloom varieties often have thicker flesh. Everything below is approximate so add as much or as little as you want of something. All the ingredients are pre-cooked anyway so if there is something you love (bacon!), by all means, add more (mushrooms!). I recommend baking this on a sheet pan or in an oven safe skillet/braiser. Be sure to read recipe through before beginning. If you have questions feel free to ask!
Whole Roasted + Stuffed Pumpkin
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in Around My French Table)
1 pumpkin, washed thoroughly (mine was a ‘fairytale’ variety, 6ish lbs)
2 cups pre-cooked rice (I used basmati cooked in chicken broth)
1 pound bacon, cooked crisply and diced or sliced into lardons (I used about 8 slices)
portobello mushrooms, sliced + sauteed (I used a half dozen or so)
1 small onion, diced sauteed
1-2 clove garlic, minced
5 oz (-ish) cheese of choice, cubed (I used emmenthale. Gouda would also be great.)
thyme, few sprigs, de-stemmed + more for garnish
1 cup (-ish) heavy cream
nutmeg, pinch freshly grated
kosher salt + pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and center a rack. I lined a baking sheet with foil and then lightly sprayed the foil. Things didn’t get messy but I also chose a more dense variety of pumpkin. Cut the top out of the pumpkin. This isn’t a jack o’ lantern so make it a bit wider so you have room to work. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Thoroughly season the inside of the pumpkin with salt + pepper.
In a large bowl, mix the rice, bacon, mushrooms, onion, garlic, cheese, and thyme. As I prepared each ingredient I used salt + pepper accordingly. Test for salt + pepper preference and add accordingly keeping in mind the bacon and cheese are going to release salt into the mix. Fill the pumpkin with the mix all the way to the inside top. You may or may not use all the filling. Season the cream with nutmeg and a little salt and pepper to taste. Remember not to overdo it because bacon + cheese! But I did find in mine that I needed to add a bit to the cream. Pour the cream over the rice mixture but not all at once. Pour over a half cup and check the moisture level. Your mixture might require more or less than the recipe calls for. You want it moistened by not soupy as the pumpkin is going to release moisture into the rice mixture as well. Put the cap on. Rub olive oil over the outside and sprinkle with salt. Pop it in the oven. Mine took approximately 3 hours to cook. This means that you WILL NEED to cover with aluminum foil once the skin starts to darken to keep it from blistering too much. It is done when you can easily pierce the pumpkin flesh with a fork. You will need to periodically check for doneness as it cooks. I checked at the two hour mark and again 30 minutes later. You may want to remove the lid for evaporation purposes if the stuffing is too moist for your liking. When it is done you can scoop it from the inside like a pot of stew being sure to pull some of the pumpkin into the mixture or you can cut into wedges. I did the old scoop and pull as I wanted to keep its shape for serving.
Be sure to check out Dorie’s recipe as well as she has ideas for different ingredients. While researching I discovered Armenian and Turkish versions called ghapama - stuffed with rice, dried fruits, and honey! - and I will definitely be trying that in the future. Good luck! You got this!