Every Fall, the Vintage Press brings out their long-awaited Whole Roasted Baby Pumpkins. These babies are delicious, filled with smoked chicken, Jarlsberg cheese, and cream, and served with a buttery-lemon sauce.
Something wonderful happens to a pumpkin when it is stuffed with such goodness and then roasted. It becomes soft, creamy, and all of a sudden is so much more than the base for our favorite Thanksgiving pie. It becomes the main attraction, as well as the dessert.
Recently, I received the recipe and made my own. Then made them again. And then thought: What if, instead of smoked chicken, we had tender turkey, a layer of mashed potatoes, and a spoonful of cranberries on top? An entire Thanksgiving meal in a beautiful roasted pumpkin. And so I did just that: I crammed an entire Thanksgiving party into a pumpkin, cranberry sauce and all.
I wish I could serve each of you dear readers one of these pumpkins. They were unbelievably good. The combination of smoked turkey, creamy potatoes, soft pumpkin, and bright cranberries was…well…something to be quite thankful for. Each bite had it all, including some of the tender orange pumpkin.
I can’t bring you a pumpkin, but I can give you the recipe. I hope you carve out some time to make it very soon. (Tip: You can still find these pumpkins at The Gardens, but hurry!)
What You Need:
(Ingredients for 4 pumpkins)
4 Baby Pumpkins, seeds and fibers removed (I used Pan pumpkins, which are great for baking)
1/2 cup chopped white onion
Roasted turkey (frozen 3 pound breast is what I used)
2 cups stock
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1/2 cup shredded Jarlsburg or other mild cheese, plus more for sprinkling
4 ounces cream
3 Russet potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
Butter and cream for mashing
1 bag cranberries
One orange, zested and juiced
2 cups sugar
Large pinch each of Allspice, Nutmeg, and Cardamon
What You Do:
- Prep the pumpkins: With a damp cloth, wipe the outside of each pumpkin. Carefully cut around the top of each pumpkin and remove the seeds. Using an ice cream scoop (this works the best!), scrape out the rest of the fibers. Take a paper towel and wipe the inside of each pumpkin. Set aside pumpkins.
- Cook the turkey: Follow directions for thawing and prepping turkey. Mix 2 cups stock with 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke. Place turkey in a roasting pan and pour 1/2 cup of the stock over the turkey. (You can add up to another 1/2 cup as needed.) Reserve the other half for the potatoes. Cook according to instructions. (350 degrees F for two hours worked for me.) Every fifteen minutes or so, baste the turkey with the stock and juices. Once cooked, let cool slightly and slice thin, shredding it a bit.
- Make the filling: Pour a tablespoon of oil into a saute pan and cook onions until tender. Add turkey. Stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill the pumpkins: Evenly distribute turkey mixture into baby pumpkins. Pour 1 ounce of cream into each. Place top back on and cover each pumpkin in foil. (This keeps the pumpkin skins from darkening or wrinkling too much.) Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 350 degrees F. Pumpkins will cook from an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.
- Bake the potatoes: In a separate baking dish, throw in the potatoes and the reserved stock. Put the potatoes in the oven on the bottom rack. Pumpkins will cook for over an hour, but take out potatoes when tender, after about 30 minutes of cooking. Mash, adding a bit of butter, cream, and seasonings.
- Make the cranberry sauce: In a saucepan over medium high heat, mix 1 bag of cranberries with sugar and 1/4 cup water. Once cranberries start to burst, turn down heat and add spices. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add orange juice and zest and stir.
- Test the pumpkins: Pumpkins are ready when a fork pierces the outside easily, between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes. Once tender, remove pumpkins, fill with potatoes and a sprinkle of cheese, and top with cranberry sauce. (You can put back in the oven to keep warm.)
- Enjoy! The whole pumpkin can be eaten! You may place some butter and brown sugar on the table to enjoy a sweetened version of the cooked pumpkin if desired.
I know you will love this. It may take a couple of hours in the kitchen, but you and those lucky enough to join you will have a dinner experience to remember.
What do you think? Willing to try these babies?