Cheese and Chorizo Fondue In a Pumpkin
Fun and festive—a real crowd-pleaser when pumpkins are in season. The most difficult part of this recipe is carving the lid off the rock-hard pie pumpkin (sometimes sold as sugar pumpkin). For an even easier rendition of this recipe, brown the chorizo, then add 1 pound of Velveeta Queso Blanco cheese and one can of RO*TEL tomatoes. Pour into the pumpkin and bake as directed.
- One nicely shaped pie pumpkin, about 2 to 3 pounds and 7 to 8 inches in diameter
- 1/2 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from casings
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 can (10 ounces) RO*TEL tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
- 4 to 5 pickled jalapeno rings, minced, or more to taste
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend, such as Sargento brand
- 6 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream, chicken broth, or beer, or more as needed
- 3 tablespoons bottled ranch-style dressing
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)
- Tortilla chips, preferably blue corn, for serving
Prepare the pumpkin “bowl”: Wash the outside of the pumpkin and dry with paper towels. Working on old newspapers, cut the circular lid of the pumpkin off toward the stem end using a sharp, sturdy knife. Slice the seeds and stringy pulp off the bottom of the lid. Set aside. Pull out the seeds and pulp (reserve the seeds for roasting, if desired) and scrape the walls clean with a metal tablespoon. (Don’t remove too much of the pumpkin wall as you want it to maintain its structural integrity.) Set aside.
In a large saucepan, brown and crumble the chorizo over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and cumin and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and jalapenos and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until hot. Slowly stir in the shredded cheese and cream cheese. Add the cream and ranch dressing and stir until the cheeses are melted. (If the fondue seems too thick, add more cream, chicken broth, or beer.)
Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 375 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes
Set the pumpkin bowl and the lid in a sturdy baking pan or dish. Pour the warm fondue into the bowl, coming within an inch of the top. Pour about an inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and transfer to the grill grate.
Bake the pumpkin and the fondue for about 1 hour, stirring the fondue halfway through the cooking time. (Peel back the foil carefully and avoid the escaping steam.)
Transfer the pumpkin to a platter. Blot any drops of water with paper towels. Prop the lid against the side of the pumpkin. Stir the cilantro into the fondue, and a few tablespoons of additional liquid if the fondue seems too thick. Arrange tortilla chips around the pumpkin and serve immediately. The fondue will stay hot for at least an hour.