24 November 2010

Thanksgiving: Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie

Prepare for a long week of Thanksgiving-related recipes. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, actually, but as we're in South Korea we will be celebrating it at the weekend. Last night I tried Smitten Kitchen's roasted stuffed onions,  and this morning I forced myself awake to roast a pumpkin and make some kind of pumpkin-whisky puree based on this. After getting up at 7:38 yesterday, and not going to bed until ten to one, I could have slept for hours longer.

As we get home late, I skipped the first part of the onion recipe - roasting the onions with half a cup of water for thirty minutes - and went straight to stuffing the raw onion shells. Removing the insides was something I found incredibly difficult, but luckily I had a Tom on hand to help. The recipe was good, and we enjoyed it, although the chilli I used was a little too spicy for my taste. I can imagine that pre-roasting the onion shells would contribute something as well, sadly. Funnily, the chicken tasted amazing for something that had just been sprinkled with some herbs and shoved carelessly into the oven for half an hour. I was impressed.

Also, note to self: I must never make gravy again.

The pumpkin puree was amazingly easy and amazingly messy. Luckily it's not my turn to wash up! I plan for it to go into a biscuit-crusted pie dish on Saturday, with lots of cream, to balance between a pumpkin pie and a pumpkin cheesecake. Fingers crossed. Also, I mention that I used whisky in the pumpkin dish - this is a complete fabrication. I used the Mystery Liquor in our fridge, which may or may not be whisky.

Stuffed Onions (with Chicken and Gravy)
Serves 2

4 large onions (I also used 1 small one)
3 rashers bacon
Large handful of Swiss chard
2 garlic cloves
1 slice white bread (it's impossible to get brown here)
1 green chilli
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup beef stock
Italian herbs

3 chicken breasts

I chopped the top and a tiny bit of the bottom off each onion, and Tom balled them. I chopped the onion-insides and reserved half of them for other purposes. Tore the bacon rashers into small bits and fried in oil for five minutes, while I chopped the garlic and chilli. Chopped and tore the slice of bread into small bits before putting it in a bowl with the cooked bacon, and adding onion, garlic and chilli to the pan with the leftover bacon fat. Chopped the chard and added it to the stuffing bowl, along with the onion, garlic and chilli once it was cooked. Stirred the stuffing before slowly adding the stock, allowing the bread to soak up the juice for a few minutes, before using a small teaspoon to gently stuff the onion shells.

Arranged the stuffed onions and chicken on a baking tray, covered with oil, and sprinkled with salt, pepper and Italian herb mix. Put in the oven on 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit) for half an hour. Removed, sprinkled grated cheese on the onions, and returned to the oven for ten minutes.

Then I made a fairly pathetic gravy, by adding one cup of red wine to the bacon pan. It simmered for a few minutes before I added two cups of beef stock and a handful of chopped onion. I left it on the lowest heat possible for ten minutes until the chicken and onions were done, and then poured the drippings from the tray into the gravy pan. Served.

Pumpkin Puree

1 small pumpkin
1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of whisky
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar

I used this guide to roasting pumpkins, adding a teaspoon of whisky to the baking pan at step 6, and put it in the oven for fifty minutes at 180 degrees C. At this point the skin was easily pierced with a fork. I left the pan in the oven with the door open for about half an hour to cool (while I showered - told you I got up late!) before scooping the pumpkin flesh into a blender with the remaining whisky, cream cheese and cinnamon. I blended the mixture and tipped it into a tupperware container. On tasting, the puree was slightly bitter, so I added the sugar and stirred it through. This will hopefully be used for a pumpkin pie/cheesecake later in the week.