Picking PumpkinsPosted: October 26, 2010
It’s that time of year again. The internets are ablaze in pumpkin and I am overjoyed at the bounty of fall. What you should know about me is that I’m a pumpkin fanatic. I’ll take it savory, I’ll take it sweet, I’ll eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. I squeal with joy when Starbucks whips out the pumpkin scones and the $5 pumpkin spice lattes.
I friggin love jack-o-lanterns.
There’s a local deli down the street from my apartment, in Lincoln Square, called Gene’s. I’m a big fan of Gene’s even though they have sides of beef literally hanging in the window. Gene’s is essentially a butcher shop, but they really try and preserve the old world style of service. They produce their own sausages, their own perogies, their own sauerkraut, and they even have a giant barrel of pickles near the deli counter that you can practically dive into. They are also known for their European imports, German brandy, Russian vodka, marmite. The layout is interesting for a grocery store. On the first floor they have their expansive deli, baked goods, cheeses and a tenny tiny produce stand. Then, there is a grand stairway that leads up to the second floor Valhalla of beer, wine, liquors, jams and pickles. For October, they have lined the stairway with giant, gorgeous pumpkins. It’s like the stairway to heaven.
However, giant, gorgeous pumpkins do not make for good eating.The flesh tends to be sparse, they are hollow and wood-y. If you want to cook with pumpkin you will want to pick up small, pie pumpkins. These little cuties are solid pumpkin, the flesh is sweet and creamy, and they cook up rather quickly. They are suited for making pies, but they are also fantastic for dinner recipes.
So, in honor of Fall, I have decided to share a dinner recipe for stuffed mini pumpkins.
1-2 portobello mushrooms
large sprig of fresh sage (this is according to taste, I use about two tablespoons chopped)
1 large shallot – minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
chopped sausage to taste
1/2 cup shredded gruyére cheese
1/2 cup kale chopped
You can stuff about two small pumpkins with this amount of stuffing.
Pre-heat oven to 450. Cut off the tops of the pumpkins and core out the seeds. Place pumpkins in a shallow pan with an inch of water and cover with foil.
Let the pumpkins bake for about 15-20mins before preparing the filling. The pumpkins will take about 40 – 45 mins to cook through.
Cut the portobellos into small slices. In a pan, sautée the mushrooms in olive oil, add the shallots. Add the sausage and kale once the mushrooms have softened. Cook for about 5-10mins. The sage will go in last, right before you turn off the heat. Salt to taste.
When stuffing the pumpkins, layer filling with a small amount of cheese and top with the gruyére.