The pumpkin looks a liitle like a football. Bigger hole than a jack-o-lantern.
This recipe is from Jim Romanoff of The Associated Press, who writes, "A savory corn pudding baked in a pumpkin is likely to upstage anything on your table, including a golden-brown roasted turkey."
Corn Pudding Baked in a Pumpkin
1 cooking pumpkin about 8-9 inches in diameter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup cornmeal
4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed, divided
4 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely sliced scallions
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off the top of the pumpkin. Scrape out the seeds and coarse fibers. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.
Place the pumpkin cut-side down, in a baking dish. Bake until tender but still firm enough to be filled, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a dry, medium saucepan over medium-high heat, toast the cornmeal, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
In a food processor, puree 2 cups of the corn. In a medium bowl, mix it with the remaining corn and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the milk until steaming. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cornmeal. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the reserved corn mixture, then stir in the eggs, scallions, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Flip the pumpkin cut-side up and return it to the baking dish. Spoon the filling into the pumpkin. Bake the filled pumpkin for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and browned on top.
Notes: Make sure to use cooking pumpkins, which often are referred to as "sugar" pumpkins.
The pumpkin and corn pudding can be prepared separately up to eight hours in advance. After baking the pumpkin shell, cover and refrigerate. The filling also can be covered and stored in the refrigerator.
An hour or so before the meal, rewarm the pumpkin shell in the oven, then fill with the reserved corn pudding and bake in a 400-degree F oven for 45 to 55 minutes.
2 pounds purple-top turnips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
water as needed
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Peel turnips and cut into even 1-inch cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large saute pan over medium heat. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Add turnips and then enough water to reach a depth of one-fourth inch. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and pan steam until turnips are tender, seven to eight minutes.
Remove cover from pan; continue cooking turnips until water has cooked away and syrup has glazed each piece evenly, about three minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to pan along with parsley and lemon juice. Shake pan until butter is melted and turnips are evenly coated. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Source: "Vegetables: Recipes and Techniques from the World's Premier Culinary College" by The Culinary Institute of America (Lebhar-Friedman Books, 2007, $40).
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Here's another good one from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review's Thanksgiving planner (Thanksgiving countdown Part 1: Scintillating sides):
Green Bean Casserole
The components of the Green Bean Casserole can be made ahead. Store the bread crumb topping in an airtight container in the refrigerator for as long as 3 days in advance and combine with the onions just before cooking. Combine the beans and cooled sauce in a baking dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for as long as 24 hours. To serve, remove the plastic wrap and heat the casserole in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake as directed.
The original recipe for this dish was created by the Campbell Soup Co. in 1955 to spotlight its Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup. This recipe makeover updates flavor and texture. It's included in "The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2008" (America's Test Kitchen, $35).
4 slices high-quality sandwich bread, each slice torn into quarters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups canned fried onions, about 6 ounces
Beans and sauce:
2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved
1 pound white mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 heavy cream
For the topping: Pulse the bread, butter, salt and pepper in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 1-second pulses. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the onions. Set aside.
Beans and sauce: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large Dutch oven. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the beans. Cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and plunge immediately into the ice water to stop the cooking. Spread the beans on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
Add the butter to the now-empty Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Add the mushrooms, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the mushrooms release their moisture and the liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add the flour, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add the cream, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the beans and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in an even layer in a 3-quart - or 13-by-9-inch - baking dish. Sprinkle with the topping and bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes 10-12 servings.
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For some, Thanksgiving is the biggest football day of the year.
The Patriots are probably all off to exotic islands for their bye week, which gives us a chance to look ahead.
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review launched its T-day countdown yesterday (Thanksgiving countdown Part 1: Scintillating sides) with lots of basic info you may have forgotten and recipes for side dishes to get you making some decisions. Some are basic (mashed potatoes), others are less familiar:
Butternut Squash and Spinach Gratin
This dish from Gourmet magazine repays the effort with great taste. Prepping the spinach and slicing the butternut squash takes a bit of time. But you can simplify the work by buying frozen spinach. Butternut squash slices should be 1/8-inch thin. If you cut the squash into smaller segments, you can use a food processor. But it's easier if you have a hand-operated mandoline or box grater with a blade that creates wide, long, but thin slices.
3 pounds fresh spinach, stems discarded, or 3 (10-ounce) packages frozen leaf spinach, thawed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan
3/4 cup finely chopped onion (1 small)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
4 pounds (2 large) butternut squash, peeled, quartered and seeded
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
If using fresh spinach, bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot over high heat. Add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, and cook, turning with tongs, until wilted, for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.
Thoroughly squeeze the cooked fresh or thawed frozen spinach in small handfuls to remove excess moisture, then coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, then cook the onion and garlic, stirring, until softened, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the spinach along with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cream and stir to combine.
Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 3-quart, 13-inch-by-9-inch shallow baking dish. Do not use a glass dish.
Cut the squash to separate the bulb section from the solid neck section, then cut pieces lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick slices with a slicer.
Layer the squash and spinach mixture in a baking dish, using about one fifth of the squash and one-fourth of the spinach for each layer, beginning and ending with the squash. Sprinkle the top layer of squash evenly with cheese and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then cover directly with a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Bake until the squash is tender and the filling is bubbling, for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the paper and bake the gratin until it is browned in spots, for 10-15 minutes, or broil 3 inches from heat, for 2-3 minutes.
Makes 8-10 servings.