It has been too long since I’ve continued my quest for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, but the hunt is on again.
I focused on the filling for this sandwich. I knew I wanted something seasonal and pumpkin seemed like an appropriate choice.
Here’s the good news: It’s freakin’ delicious.
Here’s the bad news: You’ll have to roast your own pumpkin. Sorry… no canned stuff for this recipe.
1) Split pumpkin in half and scrape out seeds and guts. Save seeds for roasting if you want!
2) Roast pumpkin cut-side down in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes. Turn pumpkin cut side up and roast for another 30 minutes.
3) Let pumpkin cool slightly and then scoop out flesh from pumpkin. Mash roughly with a fork. You'll need about 1/2 cup of pumpkin mash for each sandwich.
4) Stir together brown sugar and spices in a small bowl.
5) Butter one side of each piece of bread. Add buttered side of one piece to a large skillet over medium heat.
6) Scoop on 1/2 cup of pumpkin and spread it evenly over the bread. Sprinkle generously with spice mixture. Top with grated cheese. Add top piece of bread, buttered side up.
7) Cook sandwich over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side until the bread is nicely browned and the cheese melted.
Cut and serve immediately!
The reason I think the canned pumpkin won’t work for this recipe is that it’s too runny. It’ll just be a complete mess on the inside of a sandwich.
On the other hand, roasted pumpkin is nice and thick and doesn’t have as much liquid so it works well as a filling.
You obviously don’t need a huge pumpkin for this. About a four pound pumpkin will give you enough baked flesh for 4-6 sandwiches.
While it does take some time to roast the pumpkin, it’s far from hard. Just slice it in half down the middle and then scoop out the seeds and guts. I recommend saving the seeds for roasting as a snack.
Then just bake the pumpkin at 350 degrees F, cut side down, for about thirty minutes. Then flip the pumpkin so the cut side is up and bake it for another 30 minutes.
Finishing it cut side up will dry out the pumpkin which will help us later on!
Once the pumpkin has cooled a bit you can scoop out the flesh. I got about a cup and a half of flesh for each half of pumpkin.
Once it’s scooped out just mash it roughly in a bowl. Notice how thick it is compared to the canned stuff.
Once the pumpkin is roasted, the rest of the sandwich is pretty straightforward.
As always, I recommend using a nice sturdy bread (I used sourdough).
I mixed up a quick spice blend with brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, and salt that I used to season the sandwich. It totally made it in my opinion.
Build your sandwich by buttering some bread and setting it in a skillet over medium heat. Make sure the buttered side is down obviously. Then pile on a good amount of pumpkin filling and generously sprinkle the pumpkin with the spice blend.
When I say generous, I mean generous.
This is how much spice blend I used for my two sandwiches.
Then pile on your cheese! Grating the cheese helps it melt easily.
Slap on the top piece of bread (buttered) and grill it over medium heat.
Temperature is key when you are cooking a grilled cheese. If you cook it too hot, the bread will burn before the cheese melts. It should take about five minutes per side to finish cooking the sandwiches.
Once they come out of the skillet, just chop the sandwiches in half which makes them easier to eat.
This is definitely one of my favorite grilled cheeses I’ve made.
Sure the roasting step is a bit annoying, but it’s totally worth it. If you have any extra roasted pumpkin, it will store very nicely in the fridge for a week or so or you could even freeze half of a pumpkin if you wanted.
If you’re in a sandwich rut, give this guy a shot!