Stuffed Munchkins are a joyous thing. They will demand little of you, and can be put together in minutes. They’re tiny little pumpkins, if you’re thinking that I have lost the plot, and you can get them in most supermarkets. You can pretty much put anything in them and then retire them to the oven for approximately half an hour and leave it to cook. When done, the pumpkin wall will be tender, and you can pull the flesh off with your spoon as you eat the rest of the filling.
Pumpkin has an inoffensive sweet flesh that goes with most things. It loves spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, adores chilli, plays well with herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage, and is blissfully happy with bacon and chorizo.
The stuffing, if it depends on anything, depends on the size of the munchkin. They’re generally very small so will cook quicker than rice added raw, but some are bigger and can take it. I’ve stuffed mine with items that will cook relatively quickly, go well with each other, and that will love the munchkin too.
You can of course stuff bigger pumpkins too and I have done really fun things with them, including making a creamy macaroni cheese with bacon inside one as it roasted, and cooking a delicious garlic, rice and herb soup spiked with chilli. This may sound like not very much, but don’t forget the pumpkin is in there too and with good stock, it is a winner.
Happy Halloween and enjoy your stuffed munchkin.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: approx 30 minutes
4 munchkins of similar sizes
150ml double cream
1 leek, halved lengthways and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
4 slices bacon, finely sliced (or jamon if you prefer)
A pinch of chilli per munchkin
Some fresh thyme
Preheat your oven to 180 deg C.
Slice the top off of each munchkin and scoop the seeds and stringy bits out with a spoon. Discard.
Place the leek, garlic, bacon / ham, a pinch of thyme and a pinch of chilli.
Divide the cream between the 4 munchkins. This should fill them. Season with sea salt and stir.
Place the lid on and roast in the oven for approx half an hour, or until the pumpkin flesh is soft.
Before you serve, scrape some of the pumpkin from the edge into the soup, leaving the rest for your guests to scoop out. Sprinkle with fresh thyme to serve.