Baby Pumpkins Stuffed with Creamy Spinach; French food fun

II may have mentioned in the past that some things are hard to find here.

And, no, I’m not talking about peanut butter and sour cream, the two things that everyone thinks we lack.

Cranberries have been difficult until the last year or two; molasses is always a challenge as is green Tabasco, dark brown sugar and water chestnuts.

Enter the ‘English Store’.

One can find them scattered about, with English proprietors, selling British and American products – for a slight premium, of course.

One of the things that they sell, by special order, and we buy this time of year, is ham.

Not sliced ham, or ham for sandwiches, but big hams for roasting for Christmas. They’re not quite the same as American hams but they’re close enough to make us happy.

And they’re not available in France.

They also sell turkeys.

Turkeys are available in France, but the English think English turkeys are better.

I don’t normally buy turkeys – they’re expensive.

I just can’t bring myself to spend 3 dollars per pound for a turkey…. Think of it – $50.00 for your Thanksgiving bird?

When we first moved here, pumpkins were considered by many to be pig food…..

Not any longer!

These, of course, are from my potager.

Baby Pumpkins Stuffed with Creamy Spinach

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tiny pumpkins
  • 2oz (60gr) fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 slice bacon, roughly chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Baby Pumpkin Stuffed with Creamy Spinach_sm

Instructions:

  • Cut  the top 1/3 off each pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds
  • Place bottoms, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake, 400F (200C) oven, for 5 minutes.
  • While pumpkins bake:
  • Sauté the bacon and shallots in olive oil until both are crisp. 
  • Add paprika, spinach and sauté just until spinach wilts. Remove and set aside.
  • Whisk egg and yogurt.
  • Add spinach mixture and stir to combine.
  • Remove pumpkins and spoon mixture into center, return the filled pumpkins to the oven  and bake for 10 minutes
  • Remove, add pumpkin tops, flesh side down, and bake for 15 minutes longer..
  • Remove and serve with the tops.

Print Recipe

As long as I’m telling stories about French food, let me tell you about French school food.

School lunches are more proper here than in the U.S. The students have an entrée, main course and dessert. They are expected to sit and eat properly, use their utensils properly and behave themselves….

The French are proud of their school lunch programs.

In Normandy, for example, there is an annual cooking contest among the school chefs. They’re given certain ingredients and must create a menu that is well-balanced, nutritious, uses local produce, is delicious, an original recipe, and under 2.20 euros per serving.

Last year’s winner created a Fish Pâté with Bacon Bits, Pork in a Cheese Sauce with Cider-Glazed Carrots and Celery, and for dessert – a trio of apple treats. (Normandy is know for it’s apples and ciders.)

Is that how you remember school lunch?

If you want nutrition information for the recipe, try this site: Calorie Count

5 thoughts on “Baby Pumpkins Stuffed with Creamy Spinach; French food fun”

  1. Katie…turkey is a must for thanksgiving in our household, at least it seems this year. We bought an antibiotic free turkey – 12 lbs. for $2.99 per lb. We will get turkey dinner at least twice, at least 2 – 4 lunches with sandwiches, and at least 1 litre of turkey stock. I am thinking 6 – 8 different meals. That is between $4.50 – $6.00 a meal – so worth it! Now if we are talking free range or organic – that is anywhere from $3.75 to $4.50 a lb. where I live. At that price, I do draw the line.
    I make a very similar stuffed squash – so good! (BTW: I bought a second turkey at this price for Xmas… it is in the freezer – last years turkeys were fabulous)

  2. My mother made our school lunches. On a special occasion we could get a lunch order from the canteen or tuck shop. I also made my children’s school lunches – I made lunches for 25 years in a row, often also packing breakfasts and afternoon teas when there was extra stuff on at school like sport and drama rehearsals. Ordering from the canteen was kept for rewards and birthdays due to costs. But what joy I experienced when that FINAL lunch was made when the last child left school.

  3. What a very good idea to teach manners as well as healthy eating at such young ages! Vive La France!
    Interesting that turkey is expensive in France – it’s considered one of the cheapest of meats here, although we do live close to poultry producing areas. I don’t ever get a huge turkey, just a 12-13 pounder, as they get tough when they are large and with just two of us, we get tired of turkey before it is all gone. As Ina said above, we get meals, lunches, and turkey soup before we are finished, so it ends up being really economical.

  4. Ina, when I want a big bird I tend to buy a capon here – they’re always good and cheaper. Or maybe a goose…. I remember cheap turkey in the US. I buy leg / thigh for soup which is good and really cheap, And the cutlets are good. Don’t know why the whole birds are expensive LOL

    Meredith, I’ve actually seen them in the store (Gran Frais)

    Kate, we packed lunches for most of our school life until the last few years – when the farmers decided we should have hot lunch every day…. They provided the food and the farmer’s wives did the cooking. We paid, of course, but not much and it was really good. It was also a very small town LOL

    Zoomie, I found a 6LB turkey one year that was wonderful, and I use the cutlets (thinly sliced white meat) a lot but for cheap meat here it’s pork…. sometimes less than 2 dollars a pound for nice loin roasts or chops.

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