Stuffed pumpkin is a fall necessity in life. Like most of the dishes cooking up in the kitchen during this time of year, stuffed pumpkin is something we’ve been eating for decades. French Canadian + New England…it pretty much represents my life. As I’m finding out, stuffed pumpkin is not usually a common dish, but it certainly does not deter anyone from trying it. A combination of slightly sweet, roasted pumpkin with savory potatoes and ground hamburg – it’s a balance of texture and fall flavors.
One of the best parts of this dish is that it’s 1.) great for multitaskers, 2.) a large amount of the cooking time during the prep for this dish can actually be done in the microwave, and 3.) let’s be honest, it’s essentially meat pie. The ‘stuffing’ of stuffed pumpkin is done exactly the same as [I make] for meat pie – onions, ground beef, yukon gold potatoes, seasoning. The pumpkin, well, it requires love just like a proper pie crust but a different kind of love. Scooping the guts out of a sugar pumpkin can be a little more taxing than a carving pumpkin. If you’re not feeling the extra elbow grease, throw it in the microwave for 1 minute to help soften up the insides. Microwaves not your thing? No stress, this entire dish can be made in the oven but add an extra 30 minutes of cooking to soften the pumpkin before adding the stuffing. Personally, I prefer to use the oven whenever possible so I can avoid having to turn on the heat in the apartment.
Once your fall meat/pumpkin master piece is complete all that’s left is the subject of condiments. There is a deep divide in the French Canadian bloodline (and in my household) as to the appropriate condiment for meat pie/stuffed pumpkin. The stuffed pumpkin most certainly can, and should, be enjoyed as is straight from the pumpkin. But when a little condiment is desired to aid in the enjoyment of the stuffing, I reach for the ketchup while my husband reaches for the mustard. Neither of us agree with the other, and we’ve come to an understanding to just be disgusted with their other’s choice. Regardless of your stance on condiment, you certainly won’t regret making a delicious stuffed pumpkin this fall!
A family recipe – stuffed pumpkin is the perfect dinner as the chilly fall season sets in!
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 50 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: French Canadian
- 1 medium sugar pumpkin (3 to 5 pounds)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
For the stuffing:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, 1/2″ dice
- 1-lb ground beef, 90/10 recommended
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 425F. (If using the microwave for the initial ‘roasting’ of the pumpkin, wait to preheat the oven until stuffing mixture is almost complete.) Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Cut a circle in the top of the pumpkin around the stem. Remove all seeds and stringy ‘guts’ of the pumpkin, scraping the inside of the pumpkin.
- Using a fork or pairing knife, pierce the outside of the pumpkin in several places to allow for faster roasting.
- Rub the inside of the pumpkin with brown sugar. Add bourbon. Replace top and place in a lipped baking dish or pie plate. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pumpkin is almost cooked through. If using the microwave, place in a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 10-15 minutes.
For the stuffing:
- Dice yukon gold potatoes, add to boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a large skillet. Sauté diced onions until translucent. Add ground beef, stirring frequently to break up the meat. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Using a large dinner fork or wooden spatula, add half the potatoes and mash into the beef and onion mixture. Continue adding and ‘smashing’ potatoes once previous batch in incorporated.
- Scoop stuffing into the roasted pumpkin. If some of the stuffing fills above the pumpkin, that is fine. Replace the top, return to a 375F oven and bake for an 20 minutes.
The outside of the sugar pumpkin should be dark once fully cooked.
To serve, either scoop the stuffing and pumpkin out from the hole cut at the top of the pumpkin. If serving the entire pumpkin, slice into wedges.
The skin of the pumpkin is not meant to be eaten.