Bake a cheesy, savory bread pudding, with sweet apples inside a WHOLE pumpkin.
1 large sugar pumpkin
6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups) I used Cabot
2 cups fresh bread cubes (about 4 slices firm white Italian bread, 1/2-inch cube)
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large apple, peeled, cored, chopped
1–1 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place uncut pumpkin in large shallow dish and add 1/4 inch of water; cover the whole dish tightly as best you can with foil and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until just tender. Let cool. Then cut off ‘lid’ and scrape out pumpkin seeds. Cut and scrape pumpkin meat from inside of shell leaving at least 1/4 inch shell. Chop pumpkin meat into bite-sized pieces. Place pumpkin shell in the refrigerator to chill while completing remainder of recipe.
Mix together cheese and breadcrumbs; set aside.
In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and sugar. Stir often until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in apple, 1/2 cup chicken broth, salt, thyme, and pepper, saute until apple is tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add chopped pumpkin, about 1 1/2 cup bread-cubes mixture and 1/2 cup broth; cook, stirring until thoroughly heated through.
Transfer mixture into cold pumpkin shell and pour 1/2 cup broth over mixture. Sprinkle remaining bread crumb mixture over top of pumpkin mixture. Cover entire top of pumpkin with foil. Place pumpkin on metal baking sheet (not stoneware! I cracked mine in the heat!) Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes until heated through. Remove foil and broil until breadcrumbs are golden (being careful not to burn pumpkin shell.) Serve in pumpkin shell.