Friday, October 5, 2018

Cook a Pumpkin Dinner

Carving of a different sort today.  We learned this method from Tim Sommer of Purple Sage Farms in Middleton, Idaho.  He might have just made it up himself, but certainly folks do things like this elsewhere.  The method is an improvisation, and we do it somewhat different each time, depending on what we have on hand.  It's a great autumn & winter dinner.


Get a pumpkin.  Big is good.  This one is from the Peaceful Belly Farms stand at the Boise Farmers Market. 

In the glass bowl, I have chopped and skillet-fried sausage and vegetables.  Merguez lamb sausage from our friend Janie Burns of Meadowlark Farm here in Nampa.  Vegetables include garlic, onion, bell peppers, a jalapeno, mushrooms.  Some cilantro from Purple Sage.  Broccoli or something like that is a good addition, but we didn't have any.  It worked anyway.

Cut open the pumpkin as if making a jack-o-lantern and clean it out.  Don't cut eyes, nose or mouth!  You want the solid bowl structure.

Cut up a bunch of bread.  Stale is ok.  This is not stale, but is a mix of sourdough wheat and rye.  The bread will help soak up some of the water as the pumpkin cooks.  Grate some cheese.  Parmesan here.


 Oil the outside of the pumpkin to prevent it from drying out and scorching too much. Any cooking oil will work.


Start layering in the bread, vegetable & sausage, cheese.  Multiple layers is good.  I won't show them all here, but I think I had 3 layers of each, so 9 layers.  Maybe 10.  I didn't really keep track.  Fill it up.

Put the lid back on.  Remember to oil it, too.  I hit it with some spray cooking oil because by this time, my hands were a mess.

Into a pre-heated oven.  I set mine at 350 °F, but it runs a little low, which is good.  A lower temperature lets the flavors blend better.

Cook until done.  How do you know when it's done?  After an hour, check it by poking the pumpkin flesh with a knife.  If it's soft all the way through, it's probably done.  This pumpkin took about 2 hours to cook.  Will vary with size and content.

Take the top off, and scrape the meat from the pumpkin, mixing it in with all the stuffing inside.

Scoop out what you want and eat it.  Go back for seconds.  Good stuff.

Obligatory fiddle post -- Hardanger and viola in the varnish drying closet.

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