One of my favorite things about traveling is eating at new places and getting inspired by their menu. Last year I found myself in Rhode Island for a wedding, and we stayed near the airport in Warwick and did a lot of walking around. We found this cool place called Iron Works Tavern and ended up eating there three times during our four-day stay. Their specials were so intriguing to me that I followed them on Facebook, despite the fact that I’ll likely never go to Warwick, Rhode Island again. The other day they showed a special of stuffed pumpkin and basically listed the ingredients that went into it, so I decided to recreate it because it’s a perfect celebration of autumnal produce, not to mention it looks impressive without being expensive.
These pumpkins do take some time to gather the ingredients and assemble though, which is the trade-off but I have taken all of the shortcuts I can and will share all of them. I definitely consider this a weekend recipe though.
Savory Stuffed Pumpkins
- 2-4 small pumpkins (mine are 2.6 and 1.2 pounds – but if you buy bigger ones, get two, if smaller, 3-4)
- 1 small butternut squash, cut into 12 inch cubes (or buy pre-cubed)
- Buttered croutons (make your own or buy them)*
- ½ medium onion, sliced
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds, make your own or buy them)
- ¼ teaspoon each of salt, black pepper, and garlic powder mixed together
- 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
- Arugula to garnish (optional)
- ½ cup scallions
- ½ cup whipping cream or half and half
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Coat the butternut squash in olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the croutons, cranberries, and pepitas.
- Also, saute the onion while the butternut squash is cooking.
- Slice the top of the pumpkin off, go about an inch or 1 ½ inch under the stem. You want a clean cut and plenty of space to fill the pumpkin like a bowl, and a good opening to stuff the other things into.
- Scoop out all of the seeds, don’t be afraid to use your hands. Set them aside to make pepitas, if desired.
- Once the pumpkin is sufficiently cleaned, take the salt-pepper-garlic mix and split between the pumpkins and evenly sprinkle on the inside of the pumpkin flesh. Hold the pumpkin up in one hand and rotate it around while sprinkling for best results.
- Once the butternut squash and onion are ready, combine them, plus the croutons, pepitas, and cranberries and mix thoroughly with a spoon to combine. Add goat cheese and stir again to combine.
- Spoon the combined ingredients into each pumpkin, but not to overflowing, just to even with the top of the hole. Put the pumpkins in a baking dish. Place the pumpkin’s lid or cap back on and bake in the oven for 1.5 hours at 350 degrees. You may need to remove your top oven rack but watch out, it’s probably hot from the butternut squash roasting.
- After the time is up, remove the pumpkin lids and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
- Rest a while! But when you remove the caps, begin making the grilled scallion cream by dry sauteing the scallions over medium high heat in a frying pan until they start to blacken in places.
- Place the scallions in a food processor with the only the butter and lemon juice, or use an immersion blender. Blend.
- Place in fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
- Pour the cream in a small saucepan and heat up til it is reduced by half. Whisk in the butter mixture. Remove from heat and season to taste.
- By now the pumpkins should be ready to come out of the oven. Once they are, remove them and let rest for 10 minutes. When ready to serve, use a spoon to drizzle the scallion sauce on top (If you’re going to reheat any later, do not put scallion cream sauce on top, wait til later).
*I sliced a leftover Italian loaf into ½” thick slices, placed on a cookie sheet, and put in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes. Once they were dry and cool, I used a bread knife to cut them into small chunks, then melted 1 tablespoon of butter to pour over them ,and put back into the oven on the cookie sheet for another 5 minutes or until they felt dry like croutons.
This is a pretty involved recipe, but definitely worth it. Read the directions all the way through before starting too! I’ll admit here that I messed up on the scallion cream sauce by glancing instead of reading and added the cream to the butter-scallion mixture and ended up with a curdled sauce and not enough scallions to re-do it, oops. I also had more stuffing than I needed so I threw it in a ramekin and it was just as good that way, so if you underestimate your pumpkin needs, it won’t be a problem.
So next time you’re traveling, scan the menu to see what inspires you enough to bring the idea home to recreate, and maybe impress your guests with too!