05 December 2010

Chicken Stuffing in Pumpkin Bowl

I haven't actually cooked anything properly since Tuesday. Wednesday was the lazy carbonara, Thursday was Tuesday's leftovers; on Friday we spent hours going "no, come on, what shall we make?" and then had frozen dumplings at about midnight; yesterday I made the tortilla pie, which somehow ended up far spicier than anticipated. Oh well.

I blame Christmas. Normally, when my students are writing and I'm waiting for them to finish, I jot down notes and ideas for dinner. This week, I was cutting out snowflakes instead.

So when today came around I was still at a loss for recipe ideas. I had pulled chicken out of the freezer to defrost, and knew there were two pumpkins in the pantry, possibly resenting me for not using them sooner. Suddenly it clicked. I've not really used any recipes for this, except for the pumpkin roasting tips I read before making the pumpkin pie filling, and the stuffing recipe I used at Thanksgiving - which has since been requested twice, and used at least once. I'm very proud. Anyway, both were remembered very roughly, and hence adapted.

This was really good but could have been nicer with more cream cheese, or something similar to give the pumpkin flesh a nicer texture. The chicken could be skipped for a just-as-wonderful meal.

Chicken Stuffing in Pumpkin Bowl
Serves 2

1 pumpkin
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 head of broccoli
2 chicken breasts
2 slices bread
1/2 apple
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon each of various herbs: I used basil, parsley, thyme, oregano and rosemary

Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds (I discarded mine but they could be saved for other purposes), and lay cut-side down in a tray. Add half a cup of water and bake in an oven at 180 degrees C (360 Fahrenheit) for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the onion, garlic and broccoli and fry on a low heat in oil. Slice the chicken (I cut each breast into about eight chunks) and add to the pot. Using a blender, pulse the bread into crumbs and add to the pan, turning the heat off at this point. Pulse the apple through the blender too and add to the pot. Stir through, turn the heat back on, and add the cream cheese, mustard and herbs. This should stay on a low heat for about five minutes.

When the pumpkin is done, turn cut-side up and scoop half of the chicken stuffing mixture into each hole. Bake at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit) for thirty minutes, sprinkling grated cheese on top in the last ten minutes if wished. Serve and eat however you like.