Maybe you have reached the post-Halloween stage where you do not wish to see another pumpkin for the next 11 months; if that is the case, do not read any further but skip this post entirely :-)
But maybe you are like me and either do not "do" Halloween, or you do, but still like pumpkins for food.
In that case, I have a recipe for you that O.K. and I very much liked a few weeks ago. It was fun to make and made for a really good meal, and - like all good recipes - can be adapted to what you prefer or have at home.
- two pumpkins of the sort "Sweet Dumpling"
- minced meat and everything else to make a thick sauce Bolognese
- some grated cheese
- a hot oven
- enough time
Start by making a sauce bolognese. If you are vegetarian or do not have/want minced meat, you can make any other kind of sauce. What is important for this dish is to have something that is thick enough to work as a filling for the pumpkins.
While your Bolognese (or any other sauce) is simmering away, prepare the dumplings by cutting off the tops and hollowing them out. Not too much - you really want all that goodness inside. The seeds etc. should come out easily.
Oh, and do not forget to turn the oven on, so that it can pre-heat while you are busy with the pumpkins.
Once the sauce is ready, fill the pumpkins with as much as will go in. You may press down a bit; the pumpkin is firm enough to hold it.
Put the covers on top and stick the whole thing into the oven, which by now should be hot enough.
After about an hour, take the dish out and the lids off the pumpkins. They should look more or less like this:
Grate some cheese on top, leave the lids off and put everything back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until the cheese melts.
It should more or less look like this when you cut the pumpkins in half:
It may not look like a huge portion, but believe me - we were full with one half each! Of course you can eat with this whatever you feel like; salad, bread, or simply nothing (as we did).
The sweet dumpling has a very nice aroma, a bit like a mix of potato, sweet potato and chestnut. It can handle hot stuff very well, so don't be shy on the spices. You can eat it "as is"; no need to peel it.
It was our first time eating this type of pumpkin; the orange Hokkaido is very common here in shops and supermarkets, but we'd not had Sweet Dumplings before. But we liked this so much that I guess it wasn't the last time, either!