The green of summer is fading fast now as the orange and yellow of leaves cover the lawn. Likewise, the bright greens of summer kitchen staples make way for the rustic shades of squash and apple crisps. The world smells unmistakably of fall, which I can only insufficiently describe as a sweet decomposition. The drenching cool breeze makes you switch focus to the smells inside, to the aroma of a dinner of roast chicken and a gruyere stuffed pumpkin.
This pumpkin is an adaptation of two recipes, taken both as suggestion rather than rule. Begin by going pumpkin picking, purchasing a few large ones to carve and a small sugar pumpkin to cook. Back in the kitchen, start by slicing up half a loaf of stale french bread. Treating the pumpkin like a jack-o-lantern, cut off the top and remove the goop. As your friends pick out the seeds for toasting, stir together a mound of gruyere, 1 small clove of garlic, 1 small shallot (both minced), salt and pepper. Layer the bread with the cheese mixture inside the pumpkin, filling it to the top. You forgot to add the nutmeg to the cheese, so grate some fresh on top now. Drench the stuffing with a mixture of chicken broth and heavy cream, the ratio dictated by your feelings of temperance and hedonism.
Replace the lid and bake at 350 for 90 minutes. Remove the lid, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes more until the pumpkin is soft and the filling irresistibly bubbly and browned. Serve, scooping out the pumpkin flesh with the filling.
Adapted from Ruth Reichl and Dorie Greenspan
Note: This is a much better use for a pumpkin than trying to carve Don Draper's face on it, though staring at a picture of him while carving isn't so hard.