Stuffed Hokkaido Pumpkin

Stuffed hokkaido

stuffed hokkaido

When I was a kid, in Turkey we had only the big orange pumpkins, similar to the halloween pumpkins. The only thing one would cook with them was a dessert, where a pumpkin and enormous amounts of sugar played the major role, topped with cinnamon, cream and ground pistachios. I never liked this dessert much, which is strange when I think about my love of desserts as a kid/teenager.

When I was an exchange student in Atlanta I learned one more usage of pumpkin: There is a very funny picture of me and my 7-year-old host brother and a monster halloween pumpkin, a lot of pulp and fiber. No, you may not see it.

The hokkaido pumpkinIn Germany I first saw only one more usage of pumpkin: Pickled pumpkin chunks. I tried and liked them but they were no big deal and surely nothing I wanted to make myself at home. Then one day in the food section of a magazine I saw a picture: A bright orange soup with drops of something what looked like petroleum and dark green seeds. This was my first encounter with pumpkin soup, austrian pumpkin seed oil and the seeds themselves. I had to try this, you see, at the time I was no foodie yet but adventurous I have always been. Well, at least in areas concerning food. So I went out, bought the ingredients and thus started my love affair with pumpkins. I discovered the many other types and uses of pumpkins.The sisters Butternut, acorn, sweet lightning, spaghetti, summer squash, hokkaido all taste different and can be used in various ways. But hokkaido became to be my favorite. The reason is very simple: I am a lazy person and you don’t have to trim and peel a hokkaido, the outer shell is edible. I use hokkaido for pasta sauces, for risotto, for soups and for stuffing.

We drank a Rinklin Muskateller 2003 with this. Choose a white wine with a lot of body and some caramel/vanilla notes to accompany this dish, like a Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Pinot Blanc from barrique.

Stuffed hokkaido pumpkin
inspired by various stuffed vegetable recipes
serves 3-4
prep: 20 mins
bake: 30 mins @ 200°C (Gas 7)

hokkaido pumpkin, a medium sized one around 1250g
lean ground meat, 500g
mushrooms, 250g
dried porcini, a handful
pine nuts, 2 tbsp
pistachios, 1 tbsp
cooked chestnuts, a handful
thyme, oregano, nutmeg, allspice, salt, pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 200°C.
Rehydrate the dried porcini in some luke warm water.
Wash, scrub where necessary, and pat dry the pumpkin.
If necessary, cut a very thin slice from the bottom so that it sits on your working space evenly. Cut out a lid, with a spoon carve out the seeds and the pulp, discard. The inside should look even and without any fibers. Rub the inside with some salt, pepper, nutmeg and olive oil. Put aside.
Chop the mushrooms and the chestnuts.
Heat some olive oil in a pan, put the ground meat, the mushrooms, the porcini with its liquid (filter the rehydrating water through a coffee filter or cheese cloth, it will be sandy), the pine nuts, pistachios, chestnuts in the pan. Season using the spices. Cook at medium-high heat. The mixture will first let out a lot of liquid and then it will reduce. Cook until all liquid has evaporated.
Fill the mixture into the pumpkin with a spoon. Pat the filling firm in the pumpkin many times during the process. When filled to the rim, put the lid on, place the pumpkin on a baking tray, pour a dash of olive oil on the pumpkin and place in the oven. Check after 25 minutes, the pumpkin should have some color but not turn brown, it should be soft enough but not totally mushy. This should be arrived after 30 mins.
Take out of the oven, cut the pumpkin in quarters/ thick wedges and serve with some green salad.

Notes: You can use any kind of ground meat. If you have a fattier mixture, e.g. with pork, you may not need the olive oil for cooking the stuffing. You can also stuff the pumpkin without cooking the mixture first, but then it will take a lot longer for the meat to cook through (use a roast thermometer!) and you will have to trust yourself with your seasoning, as you can’t check it beforehand. You can also use smaller, individual sized pumpkins, in this case adjust the baking time accordingly, it might be as short as 20 mins. Experiment with the nuts and spices you put into the mixture, there are definitely more of these yummy combinations out there.

Stuffed hokkaido step 1 Stuffed hokkaido step 2 Stuffed hokkaido step 3 Stuffed hokkaido step 4 Stuffed hokkaido step 5 Stuffed hokkaido step 6 Stuffed hokkaido step 7 Stuffed hokkaido step 8 Stuffed hokkaido step 9

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11 Responses

  1. I love pumpkin, and this seems one of the best uses of it.

    Stuffed pumpkin always works well, and this recipe is interesting enough to turn it into a complex and satisfying main meal.

  2. Scott,
    thanks for the thumbs up! It really is a main dish, I would just complement it with a salad. Do let me know if you try the recipe out.

  3. I live in N.E. Can this Hokkaido pumpkin be bought locally?

  4. Marie,
    I am not familiar with the abbreviation, NE is Nebraska but N.E.? Anyways, as I do not live in the States I am not a reliable source of information in this matter, but from what I have been reading in the blog world, I think the hokkaido has taken the world over and can be found most anywhere. You might want to try a local farmers market. If you do find it and try this recipe, please let me know how it turned out!

  5. [...] strongly flavourful pumpkin – traditionally this recipe is made with Hokkaido pumpkins (by the way, this recipe looks delicious!) but I used a butternut squash and it tasted fine, just slightly sweeter than [...]

  6. [...] days, the book. Now, I do have a love affair going on with pumpkins (or squash, or gourds) as you might remember, so this recipe from Nicky’s book (I am friends with a real cookbook author, how cool is [...]

  7. Hello, I have just returned from a trip to visit relatives in Germany, and was delighted to try hokkaido pumpkins. I loved them, and as I am also an avid yet lazy cook, I love the idea of the edible peel.

    One problem: I was met with a puzzled look when I went to my local farmers’ market yesterday and asked about hokkaido pumpkins. The woman at the stand says that they have something called (I think) a delicada pumpkin, but they were not available yesterday.

    I don’t know where you live, but I am in the greater NY metro area. Do you know if they are known by any other name?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Lisa, I live in Europe (earlier Germany, now Italy, where it is also hard to find hokkaido) but I have heard from many American bloggers about hokkaido. Some also use the term “kabocha”, though I am not 100% sure it is the same thing. The most important aspects of hokkaido, for me, are 2 things: that you don’t have to peel it (it is edible!) and the taste – nutty and sweet. I am sure you can play around with other types of squash, maybe a butternut?

  8. We just tried this stuffed Hokkaido recipe this weekend. Since we don’t eat meat we used Quorn mince instead. The only downside is that the filling is drier than it would be with meat so next time we will probably add some tomato. Nevertheless we loved this recipe. It’s a fantastic mix of nutty and sweet flavours and a wonderfull autumn dish.
    Oh, one more thing. I am a great fan of toasted pine nuts. It brings out the flavour so much more. So we said that next time we will toast the pine nuts and possibly even pistaccio nuts beforehand. Try it!

  9. This looks so delicious! :)
    All the ingredients in it look great– and good idea to make this with mushrooms!
    You don’t by any chance know a good place to find pumpkin seeds, do you?
    I’ve been looking around online for these so I can make vegan pesto with pumpkin seeds. :)

    Really like your blog

    thanks!!

  10. whthanksere can I buy this pumpkin in Florida

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