1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
Salt and pepper
1/2 loaf day old French bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 ounces cheese, your choice of Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and coarsely chopped - Leave out for vegetarian option. You may substitute onions, shallots or broccoli florets.
1 1/2 tablespoons Bonnes Herbs de Paris
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup heavy cream more or less as needed
Freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet, or use a Dutch oven slightly larger than your pumpkin. Carefully cut the cap out of the top of the pumpkin and remove the seeds and strings from the top and inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl but and add pepper to taste but do do not add additional salt. Fill pumpkin with bread/ cheese mixture packing in all the filling.
Mix cream with the nutmeg and pour it into the pumpkin. You want the bread moist but not soggy so you may or may not use all of the cream.
Place the cap on top and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after about 1 1/2 hours and remove the cap for the last 15 minutes of baking. If the contents inside the pumpkin are bubbling and the pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife and the top is nicely browned remove from the oven.
Very carefully bring it to the table in the dutch oven or transfer it to a platter if it looks that the pumpkin will retain it's shape when removed from the baking pan. You may need to serve directly on the baking pan if it's too wobbly to remove. Filling will be hot so use caution. Spoon contents directly from pumpkin onto plate.
This is an excellent main dish or a beautiful accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey and can be made in mini sized pumpkins as well for individual sized servings.