In this luxurious vegetarian feast dish, a gorgeous orange pumpkin overflows with golden cornbread stuffing lightly moistened with broth and studded with healthful chopped greens and omega-3-rich walnuts. So impressive and beautiful, it is sure to win gasps of admiration from your family and friends. And just wait until they taste it! The surprise is how easy it is to make: flavors this complex and delicious make it seem as though you slaved for hours.
Cooking with corn and pumpkin at this time of year becomes a timely reminder of the Native American people; when we make this dish, we show our respect for the indigenous ways that sustained the early settlers. Cornbread-Stuffed Pumpkin is heart-warming food for body and spirit.
1 medium pumpkin, about 10 inches in diameter
1 recipe cornbread, baked, cooled, and chopped into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
6 cups fresh autumn greens, such as kale, collards, turnip greens, beet greens, or chard (or a combination), washed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 egg or egg replacer
1 teaspoon dried crumbled sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable broth to moisten
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the lid off the pumpkin and scoop out seeds and fibers. Place cleaned pumpkin on a lightly-oiled baking sheet and bake for around 45 minutes, then remove from oven and keep warm.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil or butter over medium-high heat and add onion and garlic, stirring to coat with oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly softened and golden, about 5 minutes.
3. Add greens and cook, stirring, until wilted and coated with oil.
4. In a large mixing bowl, place cornbread cubes, wilted greens, walnuts, egg, herbs, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine. Add enough broth to moisten.
5. Place stuffing in pumpkin and cover with foil. Replace pumpkin in preheated oven and bake 35 or more minutes, until stuffing is cooked and pumpkin is tender.
6. Transfer pumpkin to a pretty platter and remove foil. Serve warm, being sure to scoop bits of cooked pumpkin on to everyone’s plate along with the stuffing.
Inspired by Witch in the Kitchen, by Cait Johnson (Inner Traditions, 2001).