Pumpkin Stew baked IN the Pumpkin!

A small pie pumpkin has been sitting in my kitchen awaiting its destiny for about a week. I purchased it at Giant with no plan or recipe in mind. I knew only that I wanted to cook or serve food IN the pumpkin. I pictured a stew of sorts, with sausage and white beans (two of my favorite foods), plus fresh sage and, of course, pumpkin. I scoured the internet in search of such a meal and came up empty. How has no one made this feast before??

Real recipe or not, I was determined to give my lonely little pumpkin a purpose. I found two separate recipes – one for a stew, another for how to bake a different dish in a pumpkin – and combined them into my own pumpkin creation. I sent a cell phone picture of the finished dish to my mom just before digging in and she texted back “You need to put this in your blog!!” so here ya go, Mom, this one’s for you.

Pumpkin, Sage and Sausage Stew IN a Pumpkin
Recipe adapted from the BBC and method from Epicurious; serves 4

Ingredients
One ~4 lb. Pie Pumpkin
1 lb. Sage Breakfast Sausage
1 Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
1 Shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 T chopped Fresh Sage
1 – 14oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1 – 14oz. can White Beans (cannelini or white navy), drained and rinsed
1 cup Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Use a sharp knife to cut around and remove the top of the pumpkin, just like you would for a jack o’ lantern. Make the opening large enough to fit a large spoon in the top. Remove the pulp and seeds (trying roasting them!) from the inside of the pumpkin, leaving the flesh intact just as you would for a jack o’ lantern. Place the pumpkin on a foil-lined baking sheet.

In a small dutch oven over medium-high heat, crumble and brown the sausage. Add the onion and shallot and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, beans and chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.

Ladle the stew mixture into your prepared pumpkin “bowl,” leaving space at the top for the lid to fit back in place. Close up the pumpkin and bake for 90 minutes, or until the flesh on the inside of the pumpkin pulls away easily with a spoon. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, you’ll probably have some stew leftover that doesn’t fit in the gourd. No worries, just cover the dutch oven and let it bake next to the pumpkin for the same amount of time.

Use a spoon to scoop the pumpkin flesh and stew mixture into shallow bowls. After you’ve served up a bowl or two ladle the “leftover” stew that baked in the dutch oven into the pumpkin so it can get in on the pumpkin action, too. Serve with a pumpkin beer for maximum fall effect. Enjoy! 🎃

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