Stuffed Pumpkin

Vary the ingredients and the amounts depending on what you like and the size of the pumpkin.  Great as a main dish or to serve with a holiday meal.  Either way, it tastes great and looks cool!  BHL


4 pieces of thick Applewood Smoked (or similar) Bacon*, diced

2-21/2 lb pie pumpkin

2 Tbsp Wild Mushroom and Sage or Flying Olive Garlic or Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil of choice, divided

1 cup chopped onions

½ cup chopped and peeled carrots

½ cup chopped celery

1 Granny Smith (or a similar tart) apple, cored, peeled and cut into ½" pieces

1-2 garlic cloves peeled and minced

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 tsp dried sage, crumbled

1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled

½ loaf, about 4 cups, of stale or toasted bread (I especially like sourdough), cut into cubes (toast it slightly if it is not stale)

½-1 tsp Applewood Smoked Bacon or Washington Smoked sea salt Salt of the Earth*, or regular sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat.

Cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain well.  Add 1 Tbsp of Flying Olive Wild Mushroom and Sage or Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add the chopped carrots and celery and cook until almost soft.  Add the apple and
garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.  Add the cranberries, sage, and thyme.  Add the bread cubes and stir to coat.  Take off the heat to cool.

Meanwhile, using a very sturdy knife, cut the cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween).  Remove the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin.  Place on a baking sheet. Rub the inside with the remaining Flying Olive Wild Mushroom and Sage or Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with the Applewood Smoked Bacon* Salt of the Earth and freshly ground black pepper.

When cooled a bit, stuff the mix into the pumpkin.  The pumpkin should be well filled and packed.  You might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it, depending on the size of your pumpkin.

Put the cap on the pumpkin and bake it for about 2 hours, check after 90 minutes as the size of pumpkins varies greatly. Everything inside the pumpkin should be bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.  The pumpkin will also looked slightly collapsed or soft.  The pumpkin will have given off liquid so be careful of steam when taking the top off.  If desired, remove the top for about the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.

When the pumpkin is ready, very carefully, bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter.  To serve, get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin pulp into the filling, and then mix everything up.  If you have leftovers, scoop them out of the pumpkin, and refrigerate.

Submitted by Barb L.

*If you prefer not to use bacon or our Applewood Smoked Bacon salt, omit them.  Instead use our Washington Smoked Sea Salt, which is available in the store.