I’ve made this every fall for years and have tried all kinds of stuffings but these are the ingredients that seem to accent the pumpkin with true Louisiana flavors.
No set measurements
And there are only ingredients – no measurements – since the amount of the stuffing will depend on the size of the pumpkin. So the first order of the day is to get a compact little pumpkin, in this case about three pounds, which should yield approximately four slices and then some tart fall apples and herbs for the stuffing.
How to stuff it
The first order of business is to cut a hole in the top big enough to extract the seeds and attached strings. And don’t toss the seeds. You can save and toast them for snacking.
Now slice the andouille into rounds and saute till they start to color up. Remove and blot the rendered fat. Then cut them into quarters and dump them into a big bowl and add to taste celery, garlic, bell pepper, and onion that has been sauteed in some butter. When you’re dicing the celery use the leaves if you have them since they are packed with flavor. Next add the croutons, diced apple, and the thyme and finally some salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne, and a little grated nutmeg to the heavy cream and pour it into the pumpkin till it comes up almost to the top. You want to leave some space up there since the croutons will expand a bit in cooking.
The amounts of onion, celery, and garlic vary according to the size of the pumpkin, but for this three-pounder, I used about a heaping tablespoon of each.
Put it in a 350-degree oven and started checking it at the hour and a half mark. Depending on how firm you like the pumpkin you might want to remove it then or let it go another thirty minutes or so. Just keep checking by lightly pressing the outside or by seeing if you can pierce it with a fork.
Cut it and serve
If you’re serving it by itself you might want to put it in a bowl as I did below and attack it with a spoon. It keeps all the delicious stuffing on top preventing your less health-conscious family members from noticing that they’re eating something that’s really good for them!
The last piece….R.I.P…..(and you can see some of the toasted pumpkin seeds made a nice garnish for the leftovers.)
To complete your meal
Something light like a salad is perfect, so try Perfection Salad.
- 1 Pumpkin
- Andouille (or another sausage of your choice) sliced into rounds
- Onion or Scallions, finely diced
- Garlic, finely diced
- Celery, finely diced
- Bell Pepper, finely diced
- Croutons (or cubed herb stuffing)
- Tart Apple, peeled & diced
- Heavy Cream
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove the stem. Cut the strings off the bottom of the stem end and set them aside.
- Using a serving spoon, thoroughly scrape out the insides and then add some salt & pepper.
- Finely dice the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and celery and saute in a little butter or oil until slightly softened about 2 or 3 minutes.
- Put in a bowl and add the croutons, diced peeled apple, and thyme.
- Saute the sliced rounds of andouille until lightly brown, remove, blot grease, and cut up. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients and give it a good stir.
- Spoon it into the pumpkin's cavity leaving a little space at the top.
- Add some nutmeg, cayenne, and salt to the heavy cream and pour it into the pumpkin. The cream can be a little below the top since it will bubble up while cooking.
- Place the stuffed pumpkin in a greased or parchment-lined pan, put the stem end back on top, and cook till the pumpkin is soft, about an hour and a half.
Use croutons made from dense bread that has been well toasted, Pepperidge Farm loose or cubed stuffing is good. If you're using your homemade croutons don't use ones made from a soft white or egg bread as they will go slimy on you.
An alternative filling would be substituting slightly undercooked rice for the croutons.
You can use fresh or dried thyme just remember that it's powerful so don't use too much.
If you decide to use the seeds you'll notice that they're covered with slimy strings. To destring and deslime them just rinse them in a pan then dump them in a salad spinner and they will be ready to toast in a pan on the stove or in the oven.