Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's the great...... somethin?

 ©2010 John Houser III

So this recipe is something I'm posting because I posted a few pictures on my Facebook and Twitter pages and there has been a bunch of people asking what it was and how to make it. Well dear readers, don't say I never gave you anything.

The pictures in this blog are the originals I took last with my phone week when I made this, so please forgive their quality. They are not my usual step by step pics, but this recipe is so damn easy that there is no need for such rigmarole.

This dish is an interpretation of a general recipe by Dorie Greenspan that is outlined in her new book. She got this recipe from a friend and it's one of those recipes that is super versatile and open to many types of interpretation. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to make a version of my own.

The original recipe called for a medium to large size pumpkin and that seemed a bit too bulky and precarious for me. All I needed was to pull this big ass pumpkin out of the oven and have it collapse on itself when it was moved for the baking tray to a serving dish. No thanks. So I've scaled the pumpkins down to mini guys that you can find easily in your local grocery mart, or farmers market.

You can use pumpkins or squash, either will be fine in this dish. I used these crazy little guys called red curry squash and a Siamese twin looking butternut squash that we got from our C.S.A. but any regular mini pumpkins or squash would work just as well.

So lets get to it. 

Stuffed Mini Gourds:
6 mini Gourds (pumpkins, squash, whatevs)- Around 1 pound each.
1/2 pound French baguette or thick country bread  (preferably stale) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 pound Gruyere cheese (substitute fontina or sharp white cheddar) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 pound Emmenthaler cheese (substitute any holy Swiss cheese, Jarsberg is good) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 Slices of bacon cut into 1/4 inch wide pieces
1 large white onion cut into medium dice (1/2 inch squares)
6 cloves of garlic minced
1 Asian pear (substitute a sweet apple or pear) cut into medium dice (1/2 inch squares)
1 large sprig of thyme destemmed
1 sprig rosemary destemmed and minced
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/16 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg (just a pinch)
kosher salt and pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400°

2. Cut the tops off of the gourds and reserve as lids for baking. Scoop out the gourdy guts and throw away (or keep for later to toast the seeds). Sprinkle the insides of the gourds with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

3. Mix your bread, cheese, 1/2 of your herbs and Asian Pear in a bowl. Once they are combined add your cream and stir again.

4. Over medium heat, render out the bacon until  it is crisp. Transfer over to a dry paper towel to drain.

5. Add onions to pan, add a pinch of kosher salt and sweat them out until translucent.

6. Add garlic. Cook until softened.

7. Add your bacon, onion and garlic mixture to the bowl containing the bread and cheese mixture. Stir to combine.

©2010 John Houser III

 8. Stuff the gourds with your filling. Portion it equally between the gourds so no one is under or over filled. Place the tops back on the and place them onto a baking sheet. If you want, put down parchment paper or a silpat to catch the liquid spilling out of the gourds.
9. Place in the oven for 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the gourds. If a knife can pass through the outside flesh and into the center of the gourd easily then you are ready to go.

©2010 John Houser III

10. When they are done, pull them out of the oven and let them sit for at least ten minutes. Then plate up and serve. Top on or to the side is up to you. Now enjoy it's super gooey goodness!

©2010 John Houser III
A note on putting the tops on. If you are like me then you want the tops to line up perfectly for a good fit and a great presentation. Well, to get them lined up perfectly I peel a little slice vertically down the side with a vegetable peeler. I then cut through the peeled piece cutting the slice in half. This way when I go to line up the lid I just match the two peeled spots and voilà, perfect every time.

©2010 John Houser III

As I said earlier this dish is open to interpretation. I've read many variations upon this theme that I would like to try. Instead of bread, use cooked rice. Add greens, peas, mushrooms or change up the meats. Instead of bacon, use ham or sausage. If you change it around, let me know and I will post it to the comments section.


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