It’s funny what subjects get under a persons skin (pun intended), and one of those for me is stuffing.
I love stuffing. As an economical side dish for a deliciously roasted fowl, there isn’t much that can top the humble stuffing.
Unfortunately, it can be fraught with danger.
Cooked inside your bird of choice, you need to over-cook the poultry if you want to cook the stuffing buried deep within the cavity sufficiently to avoid a cross contamination bacterial explosion, and I don’t need to paint that picture for you. The problem with that, is you risk ruining your roast.
So, what is the solution?
Don’t cook your stuffing inside the bird.
Normally, I would cook the stuffing separately in a small roasting dish and serve it with the meal fresh from the oven, however this past Christmas, I had a light bulb moment.
COOK AND SERVE THE STUFFING INSIDE A WHOLE PUMPKIN!
First, select the pumpkin. I suggest a Kent, or a Jap pumpkin for up to 8 people. Using a sharp thin bladed knife, cut the top off of the pumpkin and mark a notch to help align the lid and base later. Now clean out all of the seeds and fiber…don’t forget the lid. At this time you can choose to scrape flesh out to make more room for stuffing, but don’t make the walls to thin.
Fill with your favorite stuffing, bake, and serve!
What’s that? You don’t have a favorite stuffing recipe?
Well here’s one I prepared earlier…
A good stuffing starts with good bread. Use a nice heavy loaf, like a genuine sourdough or Rye.
Cube it up and toss with oil and salt. I also like to add fresh garlic and fresh rosemary, if I have it on hand.
Cook in a moderate oven until golden brown. congratulations, you just made the best croutons you’ve ever eaten. Put them aside, those you don’t eat immediately anyway, and remember this technique for the next salad you make.
Cook some wild rice, per the directions. You won’t need more than 1/4cup uncooked.
Fry some mushrooms in olive oil, with something porky (chorizo, bacon, etc) and a couple of anchovies. You won’t taste the anchovies, just the seasoning they provide. If you don’t want to, skip it…but add some worcestershire sauce later.
Add some diced onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent. At this point, I also like to add some slivered almonds or Pine nuts.
Add in some rosemary, thyme (not much, it can overpower), and some ground pepper.
Deglaze the pan with a little red wine, Port, or Brandy, and cook it down so there is barely any liquid left.
Now add the rice and mix together.
Take the pan off of the heat, and mix in the croutons.
In another pan, or microwave oven, heat up about half a litre of chicken stock until almost boiling. Pour enough into the mix to make it moist, but not sloppy. Taste and season.
Then bake it in a dish, or a pumpkin like above.
Serve it next to a roast chook or turkey, and lap up the accolades (as well as enjoy the stuffing with the generous scoop of pumpkin).