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Easily the most beautiful way to present your holiday stuffing — packed into this sweet, delicious giant of a vegetable. Serve it on a big tray so you can let it fall apart as you remove slices of pumpkin with each serve!

You will need

Serves 8

  • 1 large Japanese pumpkin

For the stuffing:

  • 20 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 100 g Swiss brown mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 bunch oregano
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch of English spinach
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 100 g plant-based butter at room temperature
  • 150 g panko bread crumbs, (or stale bread, crumbed)
  • 50 g dried cranberries
  • 150 g almonds, slivered (or chopped/crushed if doing yourself!)
  • Salt and pepper

For the Gravy:

  • 30 ml grapeseed oil
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 100 g Swiss brown mushrooms, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 500 ml vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon Vegemite*
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry jam

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15 mins to prep

3 hours to cook

  1. Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 200°C.

  2. Step 2

    Place oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, and first 4 herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf). Mix to combine everything well, and cook until the onion is translucent and the mushrooms are slightly brown.

  3. Step 3

    Carefully cut the top off the pumpkin, about 2 inches from the stem. Keep the lid to the side. Then scoop out the cavity, removing all the seeds and stringy bits. (You can compost these or enjoy the seeds toasted!) Use a spoon to widen the cavity a bit more, scraping out any more soft flesh that you can. Chop this up and place it in the mushroom stuffing mixture. (Simon had about 1 cup of chopped pumpkin here.)

  4. Step 4

    Mix the spinach and then the chopped parsley into the mushroom stuffing mixture; cook for a few minutes so the spinach wilts down. Then mix through the plant-based butter and bread crumbs and cook for 2–3 minutes.

  5. Step 5

    Remove the bay leaf from the stuffing and transfer it to a bowl; stir through almonds and cranberries.

  6. Step 6

    Place stuffing in the cavity of the pumpkin, cover with pumpkin top, and rub the outside with a tablespoon of olive oil. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper to catch all the drips, and cook for 2–3 hours, or until the pumpkin is soft, dark in colour, and a skewer can be easily inserted into its side. (Keep an eye on it because if you overcook it, it may collapse.)

  7. Step 7

    For the gravy: Add the oil to a heavy-based pan on medium heat; add the onion and mushroom and fry until golden brown. Add carrots, and cook until they’ve started to brown too. Then add celery, garlic, and herbs. Fry for 2 more minutes.

  8. Step 8

    Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the mixture and stir until it’s invisible. Pour in the wine and cook off for a minute or two. Pour in the stock and cook the mixture for 15 minutes to reduce and thicken the gravy slightly.

  9. Step 9

    Finally, mix in the Vegemite and jam and cook for a further 5 minutes.

  10. Step 10

    Strain into a gravy boat or bowl for serving!

  11. Step 11

    When pumpkin is cooked, remove from oven and let it rest for 45 minutes before serving, with gravy alongside. Slice it up like a big ol’ cake, and enjoy!


*If you’re not in Australia, you can substitute a dash of tamari / soy sauce for the Vegemite to replicate a similar umami, salty flavour!

Recipe: Simon Toohey

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