This Stuffed Pumpkin Recipe Never Leaves My Fall Bucket List

published Oct 7, 2019
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Credit: Sheela Prakash

In the fall of 2012, with Hurricane Sandy quickly approaching my then-home of New York City, I was hunkered down with my partner, and ready to wait things out. That meant we were prepared with a long list of shows to stream on Netflix and cooking projects to dig into, hoping we wouldn’t lose power.

I’d bookmarked Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good years earlier, but it had always seemed too complicated to make. Yet there I was, with the desire to make something cozy and looking for a bit of a project — it was time to give it a try.

I had many reasons to be grateful that night. The worst of the storm avoided us (the power even stayed on), and that recipe turned out to be one of the best things I’d made in a long time. Now it’s something I make every October.

Why Dorie’s Stuffed Pumpkin Is Such a Good Recipe

I am not alone in my love for Dorie’s stuffed pumpkin recipe. Do a quick search and you’ll quickly find that many others share the sentiment. In fact, we’ve even developed our own ode to it on Kitchn. It deserves every bit of the praise it gets. Stuff a pumpkin with bread, cheese, bacon, and herbs and it immediately becomes the center of attention for a fall dinner. It’s applause-worthy enough to show off at a dinner party, but it’s also homey enough to keep to yourself on a quiet night. And as much as I enjoy sweet pumpkin recipes, I find the savory dish has just as much going for it, if not more.

Mix and Match to Make It Your Own

Dorie suggests tossing stale bread cubes, chunks of cheese, garlic, crumbled bacon, and chopped fresh herbs together in a bowl and then stuffing the mixture into a hollowed-out pumpkin. Pour in a little heavy cream to wet the mixture, and bake for about two hours until the flesh is tender and the stuffing is bubbling. Then you can either serve it by scooping out the flesh and putting it into bowls, or (my preference) slice the whole thing into thick wedges.

However, one of my favorite parts about Dorie’s recipe is she gives you permission to change it up. And I am grateful for the advice: One year, I swapped the bacon out for cooked, crumbled Italian sausage to add bulk. Another year, I cut the meat out entirely and made it vegetarian. I’ve used rosemary instead of thyme, whole milk instead of heavy cream, and grated Parmesan instead of Gruyère. And I have ideas for future versions: Fresh or dried fruit, nuts, and cooked greens like spinach or kale would taste lovely in there. And I still haven’t tried Dorie’s suggestion for using cooked rice instead of bread. She says it results in a risotto-like stuffing. That just might have to be the route we take this year.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.