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Holiday Stuffed Pumpkin

This is the recipe I have used for my Thanksgiving centerpiece for over 25 years. It has always been a favorite with everyone who has celebrated the holidays with us over the years.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 large loaf whole wheat bread cut into cubes
  • 4 ½-5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-2 onions chopped
  • 2-4 stalks celery chopped
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley flakes
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons marjoram
  • 2-3 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • several twists of fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 medium pumpkin or large winter squash

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Place the broth, onions, celery and seasonings in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the top off the pumpkin or winter squash and save for a cover (as if you were going to make a jack-o-lantern). Clean out the seeds and stringy portion, leaving plenty of the squash flesh along the sides. Rinse well and set aside. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl, pour the cooked broth over the bread and toss well until bread is saturated with the liquid. Cover the bowl and allow liquid to be absorbed for about 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings (adding more poultry seasoning and ground pepper, if needed).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the stuffing into the cleaned pumpkin and cover with the pumpkin top. Place in a large baking dish. Add 1 inch of water to the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until fork pierces the side of the pumpkin easily.
  • Hint: To save some time, cube the bread the night before and allow it to sit uncovered in a single layer overnight. This will eliminate the need to bake the bread cubes in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Success Tip: Buy pumpkin in October or early November for the best selection. Keep in a cool place. Buy extra pumpkins for use at other times during the winter months. Choose one of the many varieties available at this time of the year. One of my favorites is the “ghost” pumpkin with its white skin and orange flesh. The traditional pumpkin for carving a jack-o-lantern is not the tastiest choice for use as a stuffed pumpkin, although I have used them when nothing else was available. Clean the pumpkin the day before use and refrigerate, but do not stuff until just before baking. If you do not have enough room to refrigerate the cleaned pumpkin then clean it just before stuffing. Cube the bread the night before and allow it to sit out overnight so the bread dries out slightly. This step helps to make the stuffing mixture nicely moist, but not mushy.