Time for a favorite: dinner in a pumpkin

  • By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
  • Monday, October 11, 2010 9:59pm
  • Life

Considering the weird weather we’ve had this summer — and the resulting total failure of some crops — the plenitude of pumpkins hereabouts is amazing.

Fields full of them, heaps, mounds, bins and boxes of the beauties at local farms, fruit stands, supermarkets and even those irresistible little out-of-the-way rural grocery stores.

Plump and perfect, too. Now’s the time, then, to choose one, two or a few and put them to work in the kitchen.

First, of course, we must have this stuffed pumpkin classic, one of the many favorite recipe treasures the late Bonnie Teeters of Lynnwood so generously shared with us over the years.

It’s become an every-fall, must-repeat Forum favorite, from the very first time Bonnie handed it along to us, so far back now it feels like almost forever. She told us she’d first eaten it at daughter {Cindy Wilson’s} home, liked it so much she asked for the recipe, then rushed it straight to our kitchens.

“”Everyone who has eaten it loves it,’’ Bonnie said. (An understatement of a statement, if ever there were one.) “”It really is delicious, and spooning some of the baked pumpkin out along with the filling is a must. Oh, it is just so good.’’

And don’t even ask — no, the filling is not too dry. It’s perfect as is. The only thing you might want — need — to do with this recipe, depending on the amount of people you expect to feed, is use two pumpkins and make a double amount of filling. (Readers repeatedly say it’s that good!)

Our second must-make recipe today comes to us from Everett cook Jody Harnish. She first shared it with us last fall in an Oct. 21 Forum column, and readers have been waiting for this year’s pumpkins so they can make it again.

Jody told us at that time, “Pumpkins are in the stores now, so it’s a great time to try one of George Washington’s favorite desserts. It’s delicious and really easy to make.

“I used to have a dog named Isabelle who loved this dish. Whenever I had a bowl of it, she would sit patiently and drool on my foot while I ate my half. When she decided I’d had enough, she’d put her front paws in my lap and scarf down the rest. I always got a big slurpy kiss afterward.’’

In case you missed it last time around, Jody shares it with us again, and this time mentions, “It was called a pie in George Washington’s day, but there’s no pie crust. It’s a delicious custard baked in a pumpkin. I hope you like it!’’

Now then, remembering both Bonnie and Isabelle, here are:

Bonnie’s dinner in a pumpkin from Cindy

1medium pumpkin, at least 4 pounds, preferably 5 to 7 pounds

11/2pounds lean ground beef

1/3cup chopped green pepper

3/4cup chopped celery

3/4cup chopped onion

1teaspoon salt

1/4teaspoon pepper

1/4cup soy sauce

2tablespoons brown sugar

1can (4 ounces) mushrooms, undrained

1can cream of chicken soup

2cups cooked rice

Optional decorations: olives, steamed carrot, whole cloves, fresh parsley

Wash, dry and cut lid from pumpkin; set lid aside. Scrape out the inside of the pumpkin well, discarding all seeds and membrane; set pumpkin aside.

In a large skillet, brown hamburger, green pepper, celery and onion. In mixing bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, soup and rice, then add to the hamburger mixture.

Mix well and turn into the prepared pumpkin. Put lid on, place pumpkin on foil-lined, rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 11/2 hours.

To serve, be sure to scrape up some of the inside of the cooked pumpkin along with the hamburger mixture. To decorate the pumpkin, use toothpicks to attach black olives for eyes, steamed carrot for the nose, and whole cloves for the mouth. For hair, use fresh parsley around the top.

Isabelle’s favorite colonial pumpkin pie (baked whole pumpkin)

1pumpkin, 5 to 7 pounds

6whole eggs

2cups whipping cream

1/2cup brown sugar

1tablespoon molasses

1/2teaspoon nutmeg

1teaspoon cinnamon

1/4teaspoon ginger

2tablespoons butter

Wash, dry and cut the lid off the pumpkin just as you would for a jack-o’-lantern. Remove the seeds and save for toasting later.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, whipping cream, brown sugar, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger; fill the pumpkin with the custard mixture and dot with the butter. Cover with the pumpkin lid and place pumpkin in a baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the mixture has set like custard.

To serve, scrape some of the meat from the pumpkin and top with the custard.

Makes 8 servings.

Talk to us

More in Life

The 2023 Infiniti QX80 has standard rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive available on all models. (Infiniti)
2023 Infiniti QX80 is powerful and posh

A mighty V8 engine does the work while a luxurious interior provides the pleasure.

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Ash was rescued along with Dexter, just before his euthanasia date. (Luisa Loi / Whidbey News-Times)
Whidbey Island woman rescues 300 German shepherds

“Can I save them all? No,” Renee Carr, of Oak Harbor said. “But I’m gonna try my hardest.”

Artist Michelle Downes prepares to work on a few canvases in her garage workspace on Thursday, July 6, 2023, at her family’s home in Stanwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Stanwood artist Michelle Downes creates layered dreamscapes in resin

Resin is one part chemistry and one part artistry. Downes combines the two to make art that captures the imagination.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

Barb Denton smiles and laughs with her Jeep Cherokee Laredo that she has driven for 32 years on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Red Dragon,’ stolen from Sea-Tac, mysteriously returns home to Everett

Barb Denton’s rig of 348,000 miles was found three miles from home, intact, with a half-tank of gas and an empty bag of Oberto sticks.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

This Vacasa rental is disgusting. Can I get my money back?

The vacation rental Carol Wilson books for her group through Vacasa is infested with rats and insects. Vacasa offers to refund one night, but can they get all of their money back?

A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / Herald file)
Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

Do you prefer green or red grapes? This antique Moser pitcher is decorated with enameled grapevines on shaded red-to-green glass.
Grapevine pitcher was made by renowned Bohemian company

Also, queries about grandmother’s coffee set and late husband’s Beatles records and memorabilia collection.