Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin recipe-Heard It On NPR and Just Have to Make IT and my old favorite too.!

This sounds amazing. Of course  I plan to "Americanize" it. [Editor's note: I did make it with the rice and green chile flakes. Found some Gruyere/cheddar combo at Trader Joe's (of course) and used shallots. It was a big hit. I am definitely planning to do it again.][Did it again with arborio rice steamed first and chunks of Parmesan cheese and smoked pork from the Meat Shop downtown-also great]

It reminds me of our old favorite Pumpkin Pot Stew. The firrst is a French recipe, the second Argentine. As Dorie Greenspan notes in the NPR story we could use some culinary diplomacy in politics. The pumpkin could be the key.

The best part of both of these recipes is you can apply your creativity very easily.

Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good
Makes 2 very generous servings
1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that's just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If baked in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but may stick requiring service from the pot — which is an appealingly homey way to serve. Baked on a sheet, you can present it freestanding, but  take care in moving it. 

Cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween jack-o'-lantern) working the knife  at a 45-degree angle. Scrape away the seeds and strings from the cap and  the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot. Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled -adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin to nicely moisten the ingredients.

Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours — check after 90 minutes — or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid,  remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
When ready, carefully, very carefully — it's heavy, hot, and wobbly — bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you'll bring to the table.

Cut wedges of the pumpkin and filling; or spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful; or n dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up.. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls or wedges, it's just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey. 

Greenspan's Stuffing Ideas
There are many ways to vary this arts-and-crafts project. Instead of bread, I've filled the pumpkin with cooked rice — when it's baked, it's almost risotto-like. And, with either bread or rice, on different occasions I've added cooked spinach, kale, chard, or peas (the peas came straight from the freezer). I've made it without bacon, and I've also made and loved, loved, loved it with cooked sausage meat; cubes of ham are another good idea. Nuts are a great addition, as are chunks of apple or pear or pieces of chestnut.

Pumpkin Pot Stew

2 1/2 T oil, divided use
2 lbs. Rump or chuck roast, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t sugar
21 ounces beef broth
1 dozen pitted prunes
6 ounces dried apricots
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
2 new potatoes, cubed
10 ounces frozen corn
1 large pumpkin, cleaned.

Saute meat until brown in 1 T oil.
Separately saute onion, garlic and red pepper in remaining oil. Combine with all the other ingredients except corn and cook one hour.  Add corn and transfer to pumpkin (bottom trimmed to sit flat).

Cover with pumpkin top or foil and bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours or more. Serve in pumpkin. (see above for serving options)  (Do not store leftovers in pumpkin).

Makes 8 to 10 servings.