As I admired the handsome, autumnal beauty of the pumpkin adorning my counter for the past week, I asked myself ‘Travie, how much fall goodness can you stuff inside that glorified gourd?’ (how is this for an overwrought beginning??) After a bit of searching around the blogosphere, I came across several wonderful possibilities: Dorie Greenspan has a typically elegant take with bread, cheese, garlic, and cream (I’ll be making this soon I think) and Gourmet has a lavish take, worthy of center stage at a Thanskgiving feast. Choosing instead to strike out my own path, I took inspiration from a yummy ham, apple, and brie sandwich served at one of my favorite establishments. I added some walnuts for texture, and some sage for autumnyness (does anything taste more like fall than sage, or is it just me?), and the result was the tasty recipe below…
1 pumpkin, about 5 pounds (7” in diameter)
½ c walnuts, roughly chopped
1 c onion, diced
½ lb. sausage (I used chicken and apple)
1 T sage (or your favorite herbs), chopped
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
4 oz. brie, cut into ½” chunks
1. Cut the top off the pumpkin with the knife angled towards the center of the pumpkin to carve a cap (like a jack-o-lantern). Scoop out the seeds and strings (save the seeds for another use).
2. Brush the pumpkin with olive oil, inside and out, liberally salt and pepper the cavity, and roast on a baking sheet at 375 F.
3. While the pumpkin roasts, toast the walnuts either in the oven or in a dry skillet.
4. Also while the pumpkin roasts, sauté the onions in a skillet until they begin to soften, add the sausage, apples, and sage to the onions and cook until the sausage is cooked through and the apples are just softened (about 8 minutes). Mix in the toasted walnuts.
5. After the pumpkin has cooked for 60 minutes, add the sausage mixture and the brie to the cavity. Replace the lid and continue to bake the pumpkin for 30 minutes more.
6. Remove the lid for the final 15 minutes of cooking to allow the filling to brown lightly on top.
7. When serving, scoop the cooked pumpkin from the shell along with the filling.
Ok, I admit it, the end product will never be on the cover of Gourmet. It just isn’t terribly pretty once it leaves the pumpkin. If I made this again I would probably change several things: 1) I might add some stale bread to the mixture to bind everything together and soak up some juices 2) I would add the brie later in the cooking process so that it was gooey, not completely melted (there was nice brie flavor throughout the dish though) 3) I would add even more sage that called for above, and maybe some thyme as well (I would change the recipe above, but since I haven’t tested it I don’t want to put it out there). Overall I would rate this first attempt as a B or maybe a B-, with some changes it could definitely be A material. Perhaps I’ll try it again in the future, those of you who know me know that Travie doesn’t do ‘B’s….
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds, turn them into a tasty treat for you to eat 🙂 You can roast the seeds at the same time the pumpkin cooks.
Pumpkin seeds (from the pumpkin above)
- Separate the pumpkin seeds from the stringy material (it would burn up and make a mess in the oven), wash and dry the seeds.
- Roast the pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven, stirring frequently, until the seeds are puffed and lightly browned.
- Toss the seeds with olive oil and kosher salt (any of a myriad of spices can also be used here from spicy to sweet).
These are so tasty I finished eating them before the finished pumpkin came out of the oven. Until next time….