This tasty presentation is fabulous to take to a Thanksgiving potluck!
The recipe is for pumpkin, but Long Island Cheese, a white/buff C. moschata type of squash which is paler than a pumpkin outside with a rich nutty flavor is superb. Another great squash for this recipe is the dark green Kabocha squash for a dramatic color contrast at the table. But any large squash or pumpkin at least 10″ inches in diameter would suit very nicely. You can do a lot of the prep work the day or two days before.
1 10″ pumpkin or pumpkin shaped squash
2 T soy sauce, tamari or Braggs
salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries, sweetened with apple juice
1/2 cup dried pitted prunes
1/4 cup currants
3/4 cup walnuts, broken in pieces
1/4 cup diced black kalamata olives (optional – they give a nice kick)
1 large yellow onion
1 small (3-4″) celeriac (celery root) or 1 stalk celery, with leaves
2 T apple juice concentrate
2 1/3 to 3 cups vegetable stock
2T crumbled dried sage leaf
1 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
Zest of 2 lemons (optional)
1 t salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 T butter or ghee or olive oil
1/4 c melted butter or ghee
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Depending on your druthers, cut the bread into 1/2″ to 1″ chunks, place on several cookie sheets. For a 10″ round pumpkin you’ll need about 6 cups, toasted.
- Turn the oven down to 200 and toast the bread cubes slowly. Check every 15-20 minutes to stir and turn; it’ll take about 45 to 60 minutes. You want it to be absolutely bone dry and hard. When done, let it cool. Yes, in a pinch, you can use organic, commercial, unflavored stuffing cubes but it just isn’t as good. I like to make a loaf of bread in my bread machine the day before.
- Chop the dried prunes and dried apricots coarsely.
- Put all of the dried fruit and the walnuts in a medium stainless steel saucepan. Cover with vegetable stock and the apple juice concentrate, bring it to a boil, turn off and let it cool/rest, covered, for 1 hour. You can do this ahead of time.
- Drain, saving the liquid – there’ll be about a cup of liquid.
- Preheat your oven to 350; you may need to bake the pumpkin lower than the middle rack, so check the height now.
- Lightly score where you will cut a generous lid in the pumpkin, at least 5″ to 6″ in diameter.
- Cut out the lid in the pumpkin, cutting at a 45 degree angle.
- Scoop out all of the seeds and fiber.
- Combine soy sauce with juice of 1 lemon and plenty of freshly ground pepper in a cup.
- Prick the inside of the pumpkin with a fork and brush it with the combined soy sauce and lemon juice.
- Line the bottom of a roasting pan with parchment paper and set the pumpkin on it, topside up. The purpose of the parchment is to make it easier to handle/move the pumpkin without distorting it.
- If there’s room, in a separate pan add an inch or so of water and put it on the bottom shelf. This is to keep a little moisture in the oven so the pumpkin doesn’t dry out.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350. The idea is to get the pumpkin partially, but not completely, cooked.
- When the pumpkin has finished pre-baking and the bread is cool:
- Combine everything else in the bowl with the cooled bread.
- Chop the onion finely or coarsely depending on how you like to meet onion.
- Celery root: slice off the rough outside and chop into 3/8″ to 1/2″ dice.
- Briefly saute the onion and celery root in the butter/ghee and add to the bread.
- If you are using celery stalk instead, include the leaves, finely chopped.
- Crumble the dry sage leaves and add them along with the other dried herbs.
- Add melted butter/ghee/olive oil and toss to combine.
- Add the lemon zest and olives (if you used them) to the soaked/drained fruit and combine
- Add the soaked fruit, olives and zest to the bread mixture and toss to combine.
- Add any left over soy/maple mixture to the reserved liquid. Start adding it slowly, tossing as you go. You don’t want to make it soggy, just moist. You’ll probably use about 1/2 cup of liquid.
- Add a little soy sauce or salt to taste and lots of freshly ground pepper.
- The stuffing can be made a day ahead of time.
Pumpkin Step 2
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Add 1 T melted ghee or butter or olive oil to the remaining soy sauce/lemon juice mixture. Cook it down in a small pan, reducing it by 1/2.
- Brush the pumpkin cavity with this thicker mixture.
- Stuff the dressing loosely into the pumpkin, topping with the cap.
- Bake until slightly brown and looking a little collapsed. 40-60 minutes, add a bit of foil on top for the last 10 minutes if the stuffing starts to burn.
You can serve it either by scooping out stuffing and pumpkin with a large spoon, or if the pumpkin seems reasonably firm, by cutting slices as you would a pie. If the pumpkin is your main course cutting slices is a beautiful way to go.