Pumpkin Stew In A Pumpkin

There is no doubt in my mind that not one person will bother to make this. If by chance you do, you will make it again and again. Unbelievable wonderful!

Pumpkin Stew in a Pumpkin
4-6 servings
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1 medium sugar pumpkin (Make sure it's nice and fresh)
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups fresh bread cubes, cut into 1-inch cubes from a French loaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups mixed fresh mushrooms (button, portobello, chanterelle, oyster) cleaned, stems removed, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
1 container (7-8-ounce) creme fraiche or 1/2 pint heavy cream

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Cut the top off of the pumpkin as you would if you were going to carve it for Halloween. Scrape out the seed and loose pulp, being careful not to remove the pumpkin flesh itself, since pumpkin is the basic flavoring of this dish. Save the top of the pumpkin, which will be placed back on during cooking.

In a large skillet, saute the onions and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat for a few minutes, and then add the fresh croutons and toss. Stir and cook the croutons for another few minutes and then add the garlic. Toss the mixture and cook until the croutons begin to brown. Add more butter as needed to keep the mixture from drying out. Set aside.

In a separate pan, saute' 1 tablespoon of butter with the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and begun to reabosrb them. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To assemble the pumpkin for cooking, put in layers of the bread mixture followed by a dash of salt and pepper, then a layer of the grated cheese, a layer of mushrooms, a bit of the crumbled bacon, and a thin layer of creme fraiche or heavy cream. Keep layering until the pumpkin is filled. End with a layer of cheese.

Put the pumpkin lid back on. Set the filled pumpkin in a casserole dish that will support its sides. Fill a roasting pan with 2 inches of water, and place the pumpkin,in its casserole dish, in the water. Bake for about 3 hours, checking from time to time, until the pumpkin pulp is getting soft enough to scoop up/

To serve, gently remove the pumpkin from the water bath and place on a large platter. Scrap out some of the pumpkin flesh with a large, sturdy spoon as you dish out each bowl.