Happy Thanksgiving! As promised for days on the show, I'm finally putting the Stuffed Cheese Pumpkin recipe up, which comes from the New York chef Daniel Boulud. It is on the ABC News website (he did Nightline a couple of years ago) and it's the second recipe, after the Gratin. I've copied it below.
I have found that using my own mixture of brown sugar, rosemary, coriander, ground cloves, and nutmeg is fine if you don't have Boulud's Thanksgiving Blend of spices (which can only be found in a few stores). Jut put a little of each in a dish and mix it together. Also, I do not use the bacon, as I'm vegetarian.
Stuffed Cheese Pumpkin
Recipe courtesy of Daniel Boulud, adapted from a recipe prepared by his mother, Marie
Yield: 10-12 servings
1 cheese pumpkin, approximately 10-12 pounds
1 kabocha squash (or butternut squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 loaf sourdough bread
1 clove garlic, peeled
3/4 pound apple wood smoked bacon, cut into approx ¼ inch thick batons
½ cup toasted and chopped pecans
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 bunch chives, sliced
1 lpound Gruyere cheese, grated
5 cups Half and Half
3 tablespoons Daniel Boulud's Thanksgiving Spice blend*
Salt and pepper to taste
* Available at Chef Central, Food Emporium (NY Metro), Home Goods, Zabars, www.pfaltzgraff.com and Gracious Homes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the kabocha squash in half, remove the seeds, rub the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lie the squash flesh side down on a sheet tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 1 hour, or until cooked through (check with the tip of a paring knife).
Meanwhile, turn the cheese pumpkin upside down, and with a small serrated paring knife, remove a circular cap wide enough to later fill the pumpkin with stuffing (approximately 10 inches in diameter). Cut the sourdough bread into 1-inch thick slices and toast. Lightly rub the toasted bread with the clove of garlic.
In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper-towel lined plate and set aside. When the cooked kabocha squash is cool enough to handle, remove the flesh with a spoon and cut into a rough dice. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Half and Half with 2 tablespoons of Thanksgiving Spice Blend, and salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle the inside of the cheese pumpkin with salt, pepper and the remaining Thanksgiving Spice Blend. Begin filling the pumpkin, starting with a layer of bread, then half of the bacon, half of the pecans, half of the pumpkin seeds, half of the chives and half of the cheese. Pour in about half of the Half and Half mixture and lightly press down. Repeat with remaining filling ingredients to reach the top of the pumpkin. Pour in the remainder of the Half and Half to reach the top of the pumpkin. Return the cap to the pumpkin and transfer onto an aluminum foil lined baking tray. Bake for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the cheese pumpkin is cooked though.
Serve warm, scooping a bit of the cheese pumpkin from the sides along with the filling.