It's Fall with Savory Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Our current Cook the Books Club read has been The City Baker's Guide to Country Living, by Louise Miller.  A fun, food filled and romantic light read.  Nothing too serious, but still an encouragement for anyone wanting to begin again, or starting a new project in a new place.  I enjoyed it and found lots of delicious cooking inspiration, for desserts especially.  

Miller weaves some quirky characters in with lots of good country music, I felt like I could hear it all, as the lead, Olivia joins in with the musicians. She has escaped life in the big city, working in a fancy Club/Restaurant, after accidentally setting the place afire with a flambeed dessert.   Leaving behind a dead end relationship as well, she joins an old friend in a small country town.  When she is offered a job at the Sugar Maple Inn, the getaway becomes something more lasting.  Of course, there are various hurdles in the way, mostly from the cantankerous owner.

From the Publishers: "......With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought."

 My cooking inspiration came from one of her desserts - Pumpkin Creme Brûlées baked in mini pumpkins, which I made into Savory Stuffed Mini Pumpkins.  Filled with a tasty mixture of mushrooms, Swiss chard and several different cheeses.

Savory Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

  • Ingredients
  • (10 to 12-ounce) mini pumpkins, or 2 (1 1/2-pound) acorn squash
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons 

    kosher salt, divided

  • ounces 

    fresh chanterelles or other wild mushrooms

  • medium yellow or white onion
  • 1/2 bunch 

    Swiss chard (about 4 ounces)

  • 1/2 bunch 

    fresh parsley

  • sprigs 

    fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • ounces 

    Comté or Swiss cheese

  • tablespoons 

    olive oil, divided

  • tablespoons 

    crème fraîche or sour cream

  • 1/4 teaspoon 

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  • Cut the tops off 4 mini pumpkins (like a jack-o-lantern), or cut 2 acorn squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers. Place cut-side up in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place the lids next to the pumpkins. Season the insides of the pumpkins with 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt.
  • Trim 8 ounces wild mushrooms and cut any larger mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice 1 medium yellow or white onion. Strip the leaves from 1/2 bunch Swiss chard and discard the stems; stack the leaves, roll them up together, and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch wide ribbons and chop. Strip the leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh parsley until you have 1/2 cup, then coarsely chop. Pick the leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs until you have 1/2 teaspoon (or use 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme). Grate 2 ounces Comté cheese (1 cup).

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 10-inch or larger cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and sauté until soft and golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Sauté until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the onions.

  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add the Swiss chard, parsley, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté until the chard is wilted, about 1 minute. 

  • Turn off the heat. Return the mushrooms and onion to the pan. Add half of the cheese, 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine. 
  • Fill the pumpkins with the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until you can easily pierce the pumpkins with a knife, 30 to 35 minutes for the pumpkins, or 35 to 40 minutes for acorn squash. Top with the lids before serving.  Or not.  My lids got messed up when cutting them off.  Vary the instructions as you like.  I did, just sautéd most everything together as soon as the onions were soft.

    This was just festive and lovely with a simple salad on the side.  We both enjoyed our delicious early Fall little pumpkins.  I'm linking up with Cook the Books for our ongoing selection.  There's still lots of time if you want to participate.  Deadline is November 30th.  Also linking with Heather at her Foodies Read challenge, and at Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marge, the Intrepid Reader and Baker.  


A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

I love these little savory pumpkins. There was so much food inspiration in this novel. I enjoyed it very much and was happy to read it again, after realizing I had read it a few years ago when it was first published.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! said...

This sounds delicious! I like that pumpkin can be savory or sweet, and the savory recipes have been catching my eye here lately!

Mae Travels said...

I love to make stuffed pumpkin with various fillings. That looks like a great combination of flavors.
best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

These look really good. I one time stuffed mini pumpkins with cold salads such as tuna and egg salad.

I found that the mini pumpkins were exceptionally hard to slice the top ... maybe it was just those pumpkins that I had bought.


Marg said...

These look super cute and sound so tasty. We tend to eat pumpkin in savoury recipes, rather than sweet!

Debra Eliotseats said...

While I love a good pumpkin dessert, I thought the cream brulee in pumpkins shells was a bit odd, just texture wise. I love your take. I've got some acorn squash I need to use and will try this! Thanks for hosting!

Simona Carini said...

I've stuffed squashes with a variety of fillings, Claudia, but never mushrooms: what a great idea! I must try it. Thank you! :)

Delaware Girl Eats said...

I will definitely save this recipe for next time we have pumpkin in season