A gorgeous oven-roasted pumpkin
filled with this hominy stuffing (or this cornbread stuffing
) anchors a handsomely laid festive table with great drama. I used dried Iroquois white corn
hominy and ended up with enormous amount of stuffing. You may very well wish to halve or quarter the recipe. I had forgotten that two cups of dried hominy yield more than six cups cooked and I just scaled everything up, ending with about six quarts of stuffing. Oh well, there is no shortage of things needing to be stuffed
I bought some beautiful fresh, fat sage leaves from Stokes Farm, and then forgot to add them. I think they would probably go very nicely if added to the vegetables along with the thyme. If you don’t feel like wrestling with a giant squash, just bake the hominy in any baking dish.
3 medium onions, 3 cups diced, (18 ounces)
1 bunch carrots, 2 ½ cups diced (12 ounces after trimming and peeling)
1 bunch or about seven to ten stalks celery, 2 ¼ cups diced (12 ounces after trimming and destringification)
2 fresh red chile peppers, diced
1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled between your fingers
2 eight-ounce packages wild rice tempeh (or plain tempeh)
Balsamic vinegar, shoyu (or other soy sauce), and hot sauce
6 cups cooked hominy* or six 14 ounce cans of hominy
4 cups cooked wild rice**
2 cups cooked sweet (glutinous) brown rice
1 cup lightly toasted sunflower seeds***
1 small bunch parsley, 1 cup minced
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Cook the diced onions over medium heat for ten minutes or so. Add the diced carrots and celery. Crumble in the thyme. Add the diced chiles and continue cooking until the vegetables are relaxed and just a bit browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Heat some more oil in the same skillet. Crumble the tempeh with your fingers and cook over high heat stirring frequently, until nicely golden-brown. Pour about 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar into the hot pan, as well as more modest amounts of shoyu and Tabasco
or other hot sauce. Sizzle, sizzle sizzle
. Remove from heat.
Combine vegetables, tempeh and hot cooked grains in a large bowl. (If you cooked the grains in advance, warm them up a bit. Add sunflower seeds, minced parsley, and taste for seasoning. Bake the dressing in a gratin dish, or use it to fill a cooked pumpkin or squash.****
Soak two cups whole hominy several hours or overnight (or skip this step). Place hominy with ample water to cover in a slow-cooker, or in a heavy saucepan on top of the stove. Add salt, a bay leaf, and one or two dried chile pepper pods. Bring to the boil; lower heat, and simmer for between ten and fourteen hours, checking your water-level every so often. If using a slow-cooker, start on the high setting, and switch to low after the first two hours. Save the hominy-liquid for your next soup, or to cook the other grains.
** To Cook Wild Rice
Bring two quarts of salted water to a vigorous boil. Stir in 2 cups of wild rice. Keep the water boiling, and cook for 25 minutes. Drain the wild rice in a strainer.
*** To Toast Sunflower Seeds
Put the sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and toast them in a 350-degree oven for twenty minutes, stirring after the first ten. If you forget to stir in the middle, it’s not too terrible.
**** To Stuff a Pumpkin
Scrub the surface of a pumpkin or Hubbard squash. My forst choice is a blue Jarrahdale pumpkin. My second favorite is a cheese pumpkin pictured here. Place the squash in a pyrex pie plate of just the appropriate circumference and bake it at 350 for about two hours. Depending on your squash, you may have to pour out exuded excess water (Hubbards and blue pumpkins seem to be drier, and therefore better for baking whole). When the squash is tender, cut out a lid on top, angling you knife so that the lid can be comfortably replaced. Scoop out the seeds and fibers and any excess water. Season the inside walls of the squash with salt and Tabasco
. Spoon stuffing into the pumpkin. You may push some a bit sideways to reach all the nooks, but you must valiantly resist the temptation to pack it in or tamp it down. You can always bake the extra stuffing in a casserole or gratin dish. Return the stuffed squash, along with the dishes of out-of-pumpkin stuffing to the oven and bake another 40 minutes to an hour.
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