Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Great Pumpkin

We are indebted to our friend Dana Hall for her fabulous Pumpkin Recipe. She tells us that it was recommended by Ruth Reichl, Editor of the late, lamented Gourmet Magazine.

Dana's family is locally famous for their devotion to Halloween.  (This year's homage to Toy Story 3 is one of many stunning costume themes they have showcased over the years.)   It was no surprise, then, that a pumpkin dish  became an autumn signature of theirs.  And while this is a great novelty dish for a family, fondue is certainly a romantic repast a deux.  Scale this recipe back to a 2 lb pumpkin, halve the ingredients, and reduce the cooking time to 90 minutes.  Considering the amorous reputation of the pumpkin, well, we can't be responsible for what happens nine months from now.

Hall-oween Great Pumpkin

Creamy Gruyere Pumpkin Gratin (serves 4+)
1 Medium Pumpkin, 4-5  lbs
1 to 2 cups Coarsely Grated Gruyere cheese
1 to 2 cups Cubed Bread from a toasted baguette, plus additional for serving
1 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 1/2 cup Cream or half & half
1 tsp Nutmeg
salt and ppper to taste
Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 300 (make sure the rack is low enough so that the pumpkin fits in the oven, including the stem). Cut the top off the pumpkin, like you would to carve it – aim for a 3 inch hole. Scoop out the seeds and the pulp and season the inside with salt and pepper. Layer the cheese and bread inside. Whisk together the broth, cream, nutmeg and some more salt and pepper in a bowl, and pour over the cheese and bread, allowing it to absorb. Leave 1/2 – 3/4 inch at the top.
Replace the top of the pumpkin, and place in a greased baking dish. Brush the outside with olive oil, and bake 2 hours, or until the pumpkin flesh is tender enough to scoop. Serve from the pumpkin, along with extra toast, and spoon out chunks of pumpkin with the fondue.

While we know Halloween was last week, we always get a nostalgic kick out of the Peanuts cartoon starring this week's featured food:

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