Monday, December 6, 2010

Stuffed Tiny Pumpkins

How cute is that? Gah!
And bonus -  completely delicious. I love food like this - impressive and special but, at heart, really easy and simple.

We made these little stuffed pumpkins for dinner when our friends Kate and Mike came to visit. I was a little concerned about using them as a "dinner party" food, since there were quite few steps involved. But it ended up working out perfectly - I seasoned and pre-baked the pumpkins while Jesse tidied up, and then I made the stuffing before they arrived. Then, all I had to do was stuff the pumpkins, pop them in the oven and drink some wine while we waited and caught up. And oh man, they were wonderful.

Stuffed Tiny Pumpkins
Adapted from Honest Fare

Scoop the flesh and seeds out of some very small pie pumpkins
Separate the seeds and meat as best you can. Set aside the seeds to toast up later, and save the meat.
Mik together some olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, course salt and cayenne pepper. Add a little bit of maple syrup until you have a thin paste, and taste it to make sure you have the right sweet/savory balance.
Coat the inside of each pumpkin liberally with the past, then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until just starting to soften a bit. They will smell delicious at this point.

Meanwhile, make the stuffing.
Saute onions and garlic in a big pan until soft. Add the pumpkin meat and cook for a few minutes
Add in a bunch of kale or other greens, chopped roughly, and cook until wilty.
Next, tear up some stale white bread (like a baguette, not Wonderbread) and add it to the pan with a splash of water. Cook until it looks incredible.

To stuff your pumpkins:
Layer a spoonful of stuffing with a few slices of cheese (smoked swiss from the deli was amazing), and repeat until each pumpkin is stuffed pretty tightly.

Put the top on eac pumpkin, and bake about 45 minutes or so, until the pumpkin meat is soft. If you want, take the top off for the last few minutes to get the cheese brown and bubbly.

We each had our own pumpkin to eat, and our own method of eating. I sliced mine in quarters and then spooned everything out, leaving a thin shell of skin. Mike dug in from the top with a spoon. Kate cut hers in half and carefully removed the skin, and Jesse just kind of ate it.


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