Mushroom cream stuffed squash


I’ve got the blue pumpkins blues. See the pretty blue pumpkin? See how it almost glows in the dull light of my kitchen? Now, I know that the inside of blue pumpkins isn’t also blue. I know the inside of blue pumpkins is just as bright orange and non-blue as any other pumpkin, but the naive child inside me is always a wee bit disappointed when I cut in and see no blue, no deep purple, no shimmery gray. Take heart, though, I cheer up almost immediately because that orange has a magical power all its own.


So I cut the top off the blue pumpkin, much as one would for a jack o’lantern, had my weird let down at the sight of orange winter squash flesh, scooped out the fat pumpkin seeds (again, as for a jack o’lantern), put about 6 oz. of fresh shiitakes (trimmed and halved) inside, sprinkled them with 1/2 oz. porcini that I’d soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and then chopped up, added a pinch of salt and some generous grinds of black pepper, and then drizzled on about a 1/3 of a cup of cream.

That all got popped in a 375 oven until the squash was tender and everything was bubbling and yummy looking, which took about an hour. It all seems a bit soupy because the mushrooms have let off their liquid into the cream:


It is quite tasty just like that, no doubt. But, if you can control yourself and not eat it while it sits (covered with foil to keep it warm) for 20 or 30 minutes, the cream and mushroom liquid gets all soaked up by the squash and the mushrooms and something magical happens:


You get this creamy, sweet, floury, earthy, savory delight. I liked mine with a poached egg and a bit of spinach salad. A great shared side dish – with everyone scooping their share from the baked gourd at the table – for Thanksgiving, no doubt. Also, in a smaller, individual, acorn squash (or similar sized) halves? I’m thinking that is a pretty sweet vegetarian main dish for the annual feast.