Maggoty Pumpkin

PheasantandHare Risotto Stuffed Kabocha Pumpkin

I love Halloween. I love the costumes, the candy, the gorgeous fall colors, the crisp air and the plentitude of pumpkins and squashes. It marks the beginning of warm food, hot drinks, sweaters, and scarves.

In the past few years we’ve started serving up a spooky Halloween meal to take the creepy ghoulish fun to a new level. All year I try to mentally catalog my ideas for creating tasty foods and drinks that are disgustingly reminiscent of something altogether unpalatable.  So, this year my offering for all of you is a maggoty rotten stuffed pumpkin. It’s creamy, sweet, and pungent – the Pheasant would love to have it with bacon or fried sausage (bloated fried fingers!?!?). For me, being the vegetarian in the bunch, I’ve left it plain and found it quite filling as is.

Bon appétit and dine if you dare!

KaBOOcha Pumpkin Stuffed with Blue Cheese Risotto

4.5lb Kabocha
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided

1 3/4 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry sherry
3 1/2 – 5 cups hot broth
3 – 4 oz blue cheese (we used a very blue buttermilk blue), plus a bit more for garnish
1/4 half and half
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (if desired for spooky effect)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Carefully cut the lid off the kabocha pumpkin as you would for a jack o lantern (at an angle). Remove lid slicing off the bottom to remove strings. Using a big spoon scoop out and discard seeds and stringy pulp. Rub the interior of the pumpkin with olive oil and a hearty sprinkling of salt and pepper. Place the lid back on the pumpkin and put the pumpkin in a glass baking dish or pie plate. Bake for at least 1 hour or until soft but still holding shape.

Meanwhile prepare the risotto. In a dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat, and saute the onion, garlic, and 2 teaspoons of the rosemary. Once the onions start to become translucent add the arborio rice and stir to fully mix.  Stirring occasionally cook the rice mixture until the edges of the rice start to LIGHTLY toast and or become translucent. Add the sherry all at once and stir.  The rice should start to look a little creamy with the addition of the sherry. Add a ladleful of hot broth and stir gently until the broth is absorbed.  Add the poppy seeds if desired. Continue to repeat with the broth testing the rice occasionally for doneness. Once the rice is almost al dente, season with salt and pepper, add the final teaspoon of rosemary, the half and half and gently fold in the crumbed blue cheese, reserving some for topping.  Note: the risotto should be a bit liquid – add broth as needed. It will continue to thicken in the pumpkin.

Remove the lid of the kabocha pumpkin and ladle the risotto into the hollow pumpkin. Place the lid on top and return to the oven. Turn the heat up to 400 degrees and bake for 15-30 minutes. Remove the lid and set aside, sprinkle the top of the rice with the reserved blue cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes until the topping just starts to melt.

Remove from the oven, carefully and gently slide the full pumpkin onto a serving platter. Let sit for a few minutes or serve carefully it will be hot! Slice or scoop as you will and enjoy the gooey, gory, goodness!