Many years ago we saw Martha Stewart make this on FoodTV. Ever since then, we make this every year during the fall. Sometimes we make it more than once because we usually have extra filling so later we just have to fill the pumpkins. I love the flavors of fall and this one is a great exhibition of the best of fall produce.
We usually use homemade chicken stock in this but you can also use canned stock. Also, the original recipe calls for a pate brisee dough for the covering. We’ve always used frozen pie crust but this year we actually made the pate brisee. It was really easy and turned out great. Recipes with flour always freak me out so I have always avoided them but you really shouldn’t be afraid to make this simple dough.
This recipe is for 6 smallish pumpkins but we usually use 2 medium sized sweet pumpkins. This gives us enough left over to have it at least one more time. The left over filling can easily be stored in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
- 6 (2-pound) sugar pumpkins, preferably short and squat
- 5 tablespoons butter, plus 2 tablespoons melted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 pound pearl onions
- 9 ounces potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 12 ounces button mushrooms, quartered if large
- 8 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 medium carrots)
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat (recipe follows), reduced by 1/3
- 1 cup milk
- 4 1/2 cups poached or roasted chicken (from a 5-pound chicken)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 recipe Pate Brisee with Thyme, follow this link for recipe
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. While it’s heating, slice the tops off the pumpkins. (Placing a pumpkin on a towel will help keep it from rolling around.) Scoop out the seeds, and save them, they are great after you toast them! Using a pastry brush, brush insides of pumpkins with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Season insides of pumpkins with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Place pumpkins on a baking sheet; cover tightly with foil. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes.
Prep the pearl onions: my first word of advice is not to worry about peeling them until after you prep them. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Add pearl onions, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold running water. Once you’ve let them cool down, the skin on the onion should come right off with no effort. Set the onions aside.
Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a large, high-sided skillet set over medium heat. Add potatoes and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to turn golden. Add mushrooms and carrots, and cook 4 to 5 minutes more. Add flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add reduced chicken stock and milk, and bring to a simmer. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken, thyme, parsley, sage, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.
Remove from heat, and divide mixture among reserved pumpkin shells.
Roll each piece of pate brisee to an 1/8-inch thickness. Pull center of dough upward to form a pumpkin like stem. Place over the hollow of each filled pumpkin. Using the back of a small paring knife, mark the dough to simulate the lines of the pumpkin. Brush top of dough with egg wash. Bake until crust is golden, about 45 minutes.