Pumpkin Stew (Baked in a Pumpkin!)

Image The weather has cooled off, and Fall is officially here! I decided to celebrate the beginning of the Autumn season by making pumpkin stew (in a pumpkin!)  The pumpkin is a great vehicle to take the flavors of all of the ingredients and lock them in--and infuse them with pumpkin. I have been wanting to make a dish inside of a pumpkin for years, and I've finally realized that there's no time like the present.

Pumpkin stew (or any stew, really), is more a weekend gig. I mean, I certainly don't have four hours to watch a pot.  I guess this is where those crock pots come in handy, but a pumpkin isn't a crock pot, and you really do have to watch it to make sure it doesn't overcook.  The stew came out delicious.  My first stew. My first dish in a pumpkin.

I think I have carved a pumpkin before--but it was quite some time ago. At least 10+ years ago.  I wasn't sure of what I'd find when I opened the pumpkin, but it looked a lot like the inside of a cantaloupe--a weird, stringy pulp and seeds.  I did my best to save the seeds (for roasting!), and I gave up trying to "de-string" the pumpkin with my hand. I took a metal spoon and just did my best to scrape out the strings.

The first half of this stew is cooked in a dutch oven (or a pot if you don't have one like me). The second half is baked inside of the pumpkin.  I used a pumpkin pie pumpkin because it was a nice shape, and I knew it would have a delicious fleshy inside.

This is definitely a dish I'd make again (and again, and again!)  Enjoy, and Happy Fall!

Pumpkin Stew Recipe (Serves 5-6)  Adapted from taste of home

5-6 lb. pumpkin; 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided; 1 lb. beef stew meat cut into one-inch cubes; 1 onion chopped, 1 green bell pepper chopped; 2 medium potatoes cut into chunks; 2 medium carrots sliced; 2 garlic cloves minced; 1 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon pepper; 1 cup beef broth; 8 ounces of diced tomatoes, undrained

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  1. In a dutch oven (or large pot), brown meat in one tablespoon of oil. Add beef broth, potatoes, carrots, green pepper, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 75 minutes.  Add diced tomatoes.

  2. Wash pumpkin; cut to 6 to 8 in. circle around top stem. Remove top and set aside; set seeds aside, and loosen fibers from inside.

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3. Place pumpkin in a shallow sturdy baking pan. Spoon stew into pumpkin and replace top. Brush outside of pumpkin with remaining oil. Bake at 325° for 75 minutes or just until the pumpkin is tender (do not overbake). Serve stew from pumpkin, scooping out a little pumpkin with each serving.

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