Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beef Stuffed White Pumpkin

I was driving away from the market when I saw a lady walking with two white pumpkins in her arms. I thought that they were so cool that I jumped out of my car (shutting it off first, making sure not to idle) and purchased a nice sized white pumpkin for myself. It was only $1.50. How could I go wrong.

Turns out that the pumpkin was the ideal vessel for other items I'd purchased at the market that day: sweet corn, white carrots, and fresh onions that look like overgrown green onions. I also dropped by my local natural food store, Corn Crib, and purchased some organic vegetable stock and some wild rice. Wild rice, it must be noted, is both native to North America and quite a bitch to cook. Even after simmering in the pumpkin for 2 hours they were still chewy. They're certainly not like their worldly relatives.

Anyways, what I did was lop the top of the pumpkin, scoop out its entrails and prepared the beef mixture. I first dry toasted the wild rice to make it a bit nuttier. That's what you're supposed to do with nuts but I'm not sure that you're supposed to do that with wild rice...maybe it contributed to making it uncookable. I then sauteed the onions till soft, added the beef till brown and then threw in the carrots, corn kernels and stock. At this point I wanted to add other things but I simply didn't have any room left. The contents of my cast iron frying pan just fit into the cavity of the pumpkin with a stick of cinnamon, a few bay leaves and a whole dried chili. Salt, pepper and in she went into the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours.

What emerged from the oven was very good. The pumpkin had gone soft and the mixture inside was quite delicious albight a bit bland and requiring a bit of help in the form of a chipotle hotsauce. All in all it was a very healthy meal. And fun to make. Maybe it'll be boeuf bouguignon stuffed in the pumpkin next time. Who knows?

Pumpkins are so versatile.

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