Joy has been coming up with many different ways to serve the stuffing and quite frankly I would like to eat it the traditional way … but not her! She has been testing recipes all week and I just can’t eat another bite.
We have talked about baking the stuffing in a bundt pan, placing the mixture into small cupcake pans for individual servings, and wait – this last idea is a doozy — Joy has placed the stuffing into a hollowed-out cooked pumpkin!
I must admit, it came out fabulous. The presentation was striking. Glistening from the olive oil, the pumpkin was perfectly blistered and moist and when you reached in for the stuffing, a layer of sweet pumpkin was the added surprise.
We hope you decide to be creative and give a new presentation idea a try. If not, the stuffing recipe is scrumptious any way you make it. Enjoy! We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and to cherish this very special time with family and friends.
- 1-inch bread cubes, garlic ciabatta (1-1/2 pound loaf)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 leeks, washed and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 peeled, cored apples
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound sweet or spicy sausage, casings removed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 large pumpkin, cleaned out
olive oil for the outside of pumpkin
salt & pepper for the hallowed out pumpkin
To prepare pumpkin:
Carve around the stem as if carving for a jack o’ lantern. Save the round top with the stem for the presentation and cover stem with foil.
Clean out the pumpkin perfectly and brush inside and outside of pumpkin with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on the inside and roast in a 350-degree F oven, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about 1 hour.
Remember, you want the pumpkin to hold its shape so it can be used as a serving bowl! While pumpkin is roasting, prepare the stuffing. (Note: The stuffing can be done the day before and filled into the pumpkin when ready to bake that morning.)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter and oil and add the leeks, celery, apples, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.
In the same saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.
Add the cream and the dried cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and spoon into prepared pumpkin. Place stuffed pumpkin back into oven, raise temperature to 350F and heat through about 45 minutes.
Remember, the pumpkin has already been cooked and so has the stuffing. You’re just heating all while the turkey is resting! Let sit about 10 minutes after taking from oven and very carefully, with two heavy spatulas, place under pumpkin and transfer to serving dish.