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I have been asked to make a main for a potluck this Halloween and I thought I would be "clever" and bake a lamb stew in a pumpkin. I plan to hollow out the pumpkin and add meat, veg, spices, etc. and then replace the top and poke a small hole in it to let air escape.

The main problem is that my oven isn't working properly and don't want to risk it failing halfway through. Would it be possible to wrap the stuffed pumpkin in tinfoil, and put it over a gas burner on low? I have plenty of time and could let it slow cook for hours, but I have my doubts on if the technique would work.

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Why not bake the stew in a traditional container and roast the pumpkin separately, then move the stew to the pumpkin? Or don't even roast the pumpkin? –  justkt Oct 25 '10 at 17:03
    
I had thought of this but was really hoping to be able to stew inside the pumpkin. I might experiment beforehand on thurs or fri with a smaller version to see how it turns out. –  Max Oct 26 '10 at 12:14
    
Have a grill? Indirect heat would give you the same effect as an oven for roasting. –  Nick T Oct 26 '10 at 16:32
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2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I don't think this will work very well. Burners are unidirectional heat sources; the bottom will overcook and the top will be raw. The constant rotating you will need to do will be annoying at best. Ovens provide heat surrounding the entire item, which is why roasting works. I suggest borrowing an oven.

Bear in mind that roasting the pumpkin will compromise its structural integrity. Not roasting seems like a wiser course if you intend it only as a serving vessel.

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Thanks for the advice. I am not 100% concerned with the integrity of the pumpkin, but from a bit of experience I would expect the stew to be intensified with pumpkin flavour. I dont plan on using a regular orange pumpkin, but a nice white variety that I get at my local that has a distinct and powerful taste. I could just add pumpkin chunks to the stew but thought this would be more adventurous. –  Max Oct 26 '10 at 12:08
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If you are using the pumpkin as a serving vessel, structural integrity is more or less a vital concern here. –  daniel Oct 26 '10 at 13:16
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You can be 100% concerned that roasting for more than 60 minutes around 400F will cause the skin to separate from the flesh and allow the whole of the pumpkin half to be easily poked through with a fork as if it were butter. –  mfg Oct 27 '10 at 12:27
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I would suggest combining @justkt's comment with steaming: that works omnidirectionally, which takes care of @daniel's answer as well.

More in particular: make the stew separately but not quite until fork-tender, optionally roast your pumpkin for as long as your oven works, then put your filled pumpkin in a nice big pot with lid on a rack with a bit of water underneath. You'll probably want to cover the pumpkin with foil to prevent the water from dripping into the hole you're making in the top. If you're doing this for a long time, you'll want to keep refilling the water when a lot of it has evaporated.

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Steaming seems like an interesting option that I had not considered. I'll have to see if my pumpkin will fit in the pot :) –  Max Oct 26 '10 at 12:12
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