Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pumpkin with cornbread stuffing

It would have been more public-spirited to post this recipe last Wednesday, but, you see, I didn’t know this recipe last Wednesday. I had been thinking about perhaps underlining the coconut in the cornbread by seasoning the stuffing with peanuts and cilantro, but I will have to try that another time.
Pumpkin with cornbread stuffing
1 jarrahdale pumpkin, cheese pumpkin or hubbard squash, any size you need.
Salt, pepper, paprika, wine or vinegar
1 coconut cornbread, minus a few snacks for the chef, about eight ounces, cut into cubes.
About eight ounces (six slices) toasted whole wheat sourdough bread, or any other kind of bread, cut into cubes.
Olive oil
One medium to large onion diced (1 ½ cups)
5 or six ribs of celery diced (1 ½ cups)
3-5 carrots diced (1 ½ cups)
½ of one large red chile, diced
2 eight-ounce packages wild rice tempeh, or any tempeh, cubed or crumbled
balsamic vinegar
1 more onion, diced
5 or 6 eggs
salt, pepper, Tabasco, shoyu and soymilk
½ teaspoon thyme
Wash the outside of the pumpkin and place it in a pyrex baking dish so that it has just a little space around the sides. Poke a few holes around the area you will later cut out the lid. Place the pumpkin into the 425 degree oven in which you are baking the cornbread. When the cornbread comes out, lower heat to 350 and continue baking until pumpkin is tender.
When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, cut a round lid out of the top and scoop out seeds and strings. Season the inside and lid with salt, pepper and paprika, remembering to tilt the pumpkin to get at the walls. Rub seasoning into the flesh gently with your fingers. Put a few tablespoons of wine or wine vinegar into the cavity. Pour a bit onto the underside of the lid. Tilt the pumpkin occasionally as you work so that the wine soaks into all sides.
Toast the cornbread cubes in a slow oven for about 45 minutes. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the diced onion, celery, chile and carrots and cook until tender and just barely golden. Set aside.
Put some more oil into the skillet and cook the tempeh over high heat until deeply auburn. When the tempeh is done and the pan is quite hot, quickly pour in about ½ cup balsamic vinegar. Allow to cool.
In a large bowl, combine cornbread, bread cubes, tempeh, the cooked onion mixture, and the raw diced onion. Toss well to mix. Beat the eggs and season with salt, shoyu, soymilk, Tabasco, and pepper. Add eggs to bread mixture and mix gently but thoroughly. Crumble in the thyme. Taste and correct seasoning.
Loosely spoon stuffing into the pumpkin. Resist strenuously the urge to pack more stuffing into the pumpkin. Spoon leftover stuffing (of which you will have lots, unless your pumpkin is bloody enormous) into shallow baking dishes and cover the dishes with foil (or leave them uncovered for crispier out-of-body-stuffing). Place the pumpkin and out-of-body-stuffing in the oven and bake at 350 for about an hour depending on the size of your pumpkin.
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