It’s officially the end of the market season — the one in Old Market ends Saturday — and I’ve got Thanksgiving on the brain. This fall we’ve shared recipes featuring squash, Brussels sprouts, apples and beets. And for the last installment of In Season, I decided on two more Thanksgiving favorites: pumpkins and cranberries.
If you’re going to cook with pumpkin, make sure you get the right kind of gourd. Decorative pumpkins or those used for jack-o-lanterns turn out watery and stringy if you try to cook them. Instead, look for sugar pumpkins or cheese pumpkins, which have dense, sweet flesh. HyVee stores in the Omaha area have cooking pumpkins inside the store in the produce department, and if you want to pick your own, the Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Ranch, 11001 S. 48th St. in Papillion, has cooking varieties.
Cranberries are easier. Look for bright berries that aren’t shriveled or brown. If you freeze the leftovers, they keep in the freezer for up to a year.
I’m always looking for creative Thanksgiving side dishes, and the recipes this week offer two. Presenting a roasted pumpkin at the table adds drama, and this recipe sounded too good not to share. Substitute broccoli or kale for the bacon to make this a hearty vegetarian main or side dish. Because many turn up their noses at traditional cranberry sauce, I decided on a more savory cranberry chutney with spicy ginger and rich shallots.
Until next season!
Recipe: Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
• 1 (3-pound) pumpkin
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
• ¼ pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into ½-inch cubes
• ¼ pound Gruyere, Emmenthal or cheddar cheese (or a mix of all three), cut into ½-inch cubes
• 2 to 3 cloves garlic, split, germ removed and coarsely chopped
• 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and chopped
• ¼ cup chopped fresh chives or sliced scallions
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
• ½ cup heavy cream
• Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack set in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or use a Dutch oven that is slightly larger in diameter than your pumpkin (in which case, you will need to serve your pumpkin from the Dutch oven, as it may stick, but it will keep its shape better this way).
Using a sharp, sturdy knife, cut off top of the pumpkin, working around the top with the knife inserted at a 45-degree angle to cut off enough to make it easy to work inside the pumpkin; reserve top. Remove seeds and strings from cap and pumpkin. Season inside of pumpkin generously with salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet or in Dutch oven; set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, chives and thyme until well combined. Pack into pumpkin; it should be well filled but not overstuffed. You may need to add some bread and cheese or some of the filling may not be necessary to use. In a small bowl, stir cream and nutmeg to combine. Pour over filling, which should be moist but not swimming in cream — you may need to use more or less accordingly.
Place top on pumpkin and transfer to oven; cook until filling is bubbling and pumpkin flesh is tender, about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Remove top and continue baking until liquid is slightly evaporated and top of filling is browned, 20 to 30 minutes more.
Carefully transfer pumpkin to a serving platter (or serve in Dutch oven, if using) and serve.
— Recipe from “Around My French Table,” by Dorie Greenspan
Recipe: Cranberry Chutney
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• ¼ cup finely minced shallot
• 1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
• 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low. Add shallots and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add cranberries, sugar, vinegar and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until most of the berries have burst and mixture has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
— Recipe from everydayfood.com.