Roast pumpkin stuffed with wild mushrooms and hazelnuts

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

These little pumpkins are available only at certain times of the year, but there are many alternatives. You can make this in one large pumpkin – but it’s quite expensive buying enough mushrooms to fill one, so you can bulk them out by adding a layer of sautéed regular mushrooms in the bottom. If the pumpkin is a thick-fleshed variety it can take hours to cook, so cook the hollowed-out pumpkin with the lid askew for an hour before stuffing. These don’t reheat too successfully, as it takes quite a while for the filling to get hot, so make them as you need them – although a raw stuffed baby pumpkin can be kept in the fridge for a day.

Ingredients

  • 4 baby pumpkins, each about 500g
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 600 g mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned thoroughly to remove twigs and the like
  • 60 g butter
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced and well rinsed if gritty
  • 2 teaspoons mixed fresh herbs (thyme, oregano and young sage work best)
  • 60 g hazelnuts, roasted, skins removed and roughly chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. If the bases of the pumpkins aren’t level, carefully trim them. Cut the tops off the pumpkins, holding your knife (a narrow thin knife works best) at a 45° angle to the work surface. Scoop out the seeds with a dessertspoon and discard. Mix the garlic with the olive oil and a little salt, then brush this on the inside base of the pumpkins.

Separate the mushrooms into two groups: large and dense, and thin and delicate. Slice the larger ones into chunks.

Heat half the butter in a wide pan and, when it begins to sizzle, add the onion and cook over a moderate heat, stirring often, until caramelized to a good deep golden colour. Then add the leek and cook until that has just wilted.

Add half the mushrooms (start with the denser ones) and cook over a moderate heat until they wilt. Tip into a bowl and cook the rest in the remaining butter until they wilt. Mix together with the herbs and hazelnuts and season well.

Spoon the mixture into the hollowed-out pumpkins and place their ‘lids’ back on. Put into a roasting dish, adding 1cm of hot water to the dish. Bake until you can insert a skewer through the pumpkin flesh into the centre, around 70 minutes.

These are terrific served as a main course served with salad, or the slow-cooked beans.