It’s decorative gourd season… And it’s also a good time to consider ways to make better use of a big, hearty vegetable like a pumpkin than simply carving a funny face in it! Here, Eleven’s chefs present a delicious and unusual way of preparing Japanese kabocha pumpkin (also called kabocha squash) that will warm your spirit and knock the gourds off your porch!
Ingredients 1 kabocha pumpkin [JAPANESE] Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 lb bread [1/2 INCH SQUARES] 4 oz gruyere cheese 4 oz Swiss cheese 1 clove garlic [CHOPPED] 8 slices bacon [COOKED CRISP, CHOPPED] 1/4 c scallions [SLICED] 2 tbsp fresh thyme 1/3 c heavy cream 1/4 tsp mace or nutmeg Several lotus leaves
Technique Preheat the oven to 350º and line a baking sheet with parchment. Carefully cut the top out of the pumpkin, large enough to reach most of the inside. Take out the seeds and strings. Use salt and pepper to taste on the inside of the pumpkin and place it on the baking sheet, on top of the lotus leaf. Mix the nutmeg and cream together, adding salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Roughly mix together the herbs, bread, cheese, garlic, and bacon in a different bowl. Season with the pepper to taste and scoop the mix into the pumpkin. It should be quite full, but leave enough room to pour the cream mixture on top. Replace the top of the pumpkin. Place in the oven, folding the lotus leaves over the top and baking for around two hours. Check after 90 minutes, removing the top of the pumpkin with about 20 minutes left. The pumpkin should be tender and the insides bubbling and browned.