Garden, Plant, Cook!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Got a pumpkin? I have a neat recipe

Hi Folks,

The holidays are always both a time to enjoy traditional family recipes and to also try some new ones. I have a fun one for a pumpkin.

First though, in case you were having problems with the sidebar link here to my podcast show - they figured out the problem. One hand did not tell the other hand they changed the way they shake hands! Sigh. Oh well that's the way the internet works.

Now for the recipe -- you need a whole pumpkin in good condition which will fit in your oven. An option is you have a really large one is the cut it two equal halves.

First the photo showing the general principle and then instructions. This can be a vegetarian/vegan feast or an excellent side dish for the traditional Thanksgiving table.

This original recipe first appeared in my cookbook "101+ Recipes from The Herb Lady." You can purchase the book through the link(s) on the side bar or through your favorite book seller for more recipes featuring real food flavored with herbs and spices.

I vary the ingredients slightly for the particular meal I'm preparing. Essentially you can use your favorite stuffing recipe (some folks call it 'dressing') which you would use on Thanksgiving.

I wanted something with a lot of the flavors of Thanksgiving -- bread, celery, onion, cranberries, apples, and poultry seasoning. (If celery and onions sauteing in butter and seasoning was a room freshener mist I might buy it!)

Here is my basic ingredient list, and directions.

1 small pumpkin about 6 + pounds (wide rather than tall).
2 cups each diced celery and onion
3 cups dried bread, cubed
2 tablespoons each olive oil and butter, unsalted (can use all olive oil)
2 tablespoons mixed herbs, minced finely (Ex: sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley), or 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I frequently double or triple the herbs, but that is my preference.)
1/2 - 1 cup warm water (use broth for more flavor, if you like)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries cut in half
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 small apple diced (I put cut apple pieces in lemon water to prevent discoloration)
Salt to taste (but taste first)

Optional for Vegetarian Thanksgiving:
1 cup frozen green soybeans "Edamame" (shucked), thawed to room temperature

Optional for meat eaters, 1 cup of crumbled sausage pre-cooked.


Cut pumpkin top off at angle (so it won't slip in while baking), remove all seeds and strings. (Don't forget to save some of the seeds for replanting and roast the rest for a snack.)

Pre-bake pumpkin for 30-40 minutes at 350 -it should still be firm, but a knife will pierce easily. Keep hot.

While pumpkin is baking heat oil, butter and add herbs or poultry seasoning, add celery and onion, cover and simmer for approximately 25 minutes until onion and celery is cooked, stirring occasionally.

Mix fresh and dried cranberries, apple, soybeans and bread into celery mixture. Add enough warm water to moisten, it should not be soggy.

Remove pumpkin from oven, carefully pack with stuffing, replace top of pumpkin. Raise oven temperature to 375 and bake for additional 30-40 minutes. Pumpkin will be soft, but should not collapse. Remove carefully.

Serve making sure to cut some pumpkin into stuffing mixture.

Additional options: The nice thing about this dish is you can add or subtract an ingredient to your taste.

For some more fun ideas for a Vegan Thanksgiving, Geraldine at The Questing Feast has a nice page on the subject, along with many ideas for a more traditional Thanksgiving. click here

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady