For several years now, we have made Pumpkin Stew, as a rite of Fall.. Pumpkin Stew, for those of you who don't know, is Beef Stew cooked on the stove or oven, and then placed in a cleaned out pumpkin, which has been rubbed with cooking oil. You bake the pumpkin and the stew, just until the pumpkin is soft inside, so when you scoop out the stew, you get a spoonful of baked pumpkin, The stew just stays warm in the pumpkin. Yum! This year however, my Husband wanted to make Julia Child's/Boeuf Bourguignon recipe and put in the pumpkin. Would Julia be turning over in her grave? Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon recipe in a baked pumpkin, Mon Dieu! What would happen to the flavor of the carefully browned mushrooms, the braised mushrooms and beef, and the simmered bacon? After all, making Julia's recipe is a lengthy process, sometimes a two day affair. I'm here to tell you that I think that the baked pumpkin enhanced the flavor of the deep brown sauce, laced with wine, if possible. My husband used Boston roast and trimmed and cubed his own meat. He also used more carrots, because we like lots of carrots. To cook the stew, we used this vessel, my Le Creuset, "French oven", that my sons gave to me. I love the red ombre color.
After all of the ingredients have been cooked per recipe, the stew bakes in the oven 2-3 hours.then the stew is transferred from the French oven to the oiled pumpkin, and placed in the oven to bake until the pumpkin is soft inside, about 2 hours (do not over bake). Here is the wonderful Boeuf Bourguignon after many hours of cooking. It is definitely a labor of love. Bon Appetit!
Now if you don't have the time to make Julia's recipe, or you don't want to, here is the original recipe that we started making several years ago, Pumkin Stew from Taste of Home. This recipe adds potatoes and diced tomatoes, a basic stew recipe, but very good none the less, and less time consuming. You're the cook
so you can decide which version of stew you like, and you won't be disappointed with either one.