Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving in a pumpkin

by June

It's time for Thanksgiving, both uppercase and lower. My thankfulness is brimming this season—not because we have passed an easy year filled with bounty but because the year has instead been a rough passage from one set of expectations to another. And yet here we are. The four of us have encircled one another with love and understanding and laughter. Our friends and family have been steadfast. Like the Pilgrims, we have survived. (That should be present progressive tense, actually: We are surviving.)

Around here, thankfulness smells like sage, celery, and pumpkin.

We recently tried a French recipe we heard about on NPR. It takes a whole sugar pumpkin and stuffs it with bread bits and bacon and cream and... It was a rich delight, fragrant and filling.

But I couldn't stop thinking about what a perfect vessel a hollow pumpkin would be for the best part of Thanksgiving dinner, by which I mean, of course, stuffing (or, if you will, dressing).

We scooped out a second pumpkin (about a three pounder) and tossed in salt and pepper. We diced an onion and two stalks of celery and sauteed them in butter with some fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage. Next, we tore day-old bread and tossed the pieces into the skillet and then poured on about a cup of broth. We added a handful of dried cranberries and some toasted walnuts. We tucked this rough version of stuffing inside the pumpkin. Then we grated nutmeg into a half-cup of fresh cream and poured it in. We set the top on and slid it into a 350-degree oven for about an hour-and-a-half.

The aroma of thankfulness filled the air, and when the pumpkin came out of the oven it was a miniature Thanksgiving feast.

Now we can't wait for leftovers from the actual feast. We're thinking we might scrape out yet another pumpkin and layer in turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a ladle of gravy. Those will be some exalted leftovers.

What do you do with the best leftovers of the year?


Anonymous said...

I am sorry it sounds as though you have had a tough year (in some or perhaps several ways) and wish you the best. Funny how people I have never, nor will ever meet have come to mean so much to a stranger up here in Canada. Happy weekend and best going forward!

Mary, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada

June said...

Mary: Thank you so much for your kindness. It is a wonder how the Internet forges friendships. We feel happier just knowing you're there.

Welcome, Sassafrass! It does smell wonderful while it's in the oven. We can hardly hold ourselves back. The joy is that it tastes as good as it smells; how often does that happen?

Tom @ Tall Clover said...

Here's to a sterling 2011 for your family, to new adventures, brimming richness and tons of love. And while the last year had its challenges, I suspect you were never without these things for one minute. Now about that yummy recipe, I have a lovely little candy roaster squash screaming to be called a pumpkin--and so it shall be.

Anonymous said...

Yummy Pumpkin! We all need to crawl inside that pumkin...Love from here! Val John and Ivy in NY
PS news from Cambodia Sith is going to school in PP

Clover said...

My mouth is watering ( literally! )

June said...

Tom: Thank you. And how right you are. Goodness abounds. And it's so nice to share it with friends near and all the way to an island in Puget Sound.

Auntie Val: Laughing! We do need to crawl into that pumpkin! HURRAY for Sith! Love from all of us...

E: Do you have a pumpkin at your house? It's easy and soooooo good!

jean said...

Yikes, that does look yummy! The fragrance of your pumpking is coming through.
I not much into leftovers but, when I do accidentally make more than needed, my husband is always happy to eat it. Saves on cooking, I admit.

Brandi Mills said...

Wow, what a great idea! I have an extra pumpkin that I hadn't figured out what to do with yet. I think now I know.

Conny said...

Much love and happiness being sent your way.

~ Conny

June said...

Pilgrimscottage: You can certainly manage it without leftovers, but it is worth saving back some leftovers. Easy and delicious.

Brandi: Please let us know how it turns out. Hope you love it as much as we do!

Oh, dear Conny, thank you! And we send much of the same back your way too...xox

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Oh my, you've so made me hungry. I've spent most of the morning planning our Thanksgiving menu, and I can almost smell your stuffed pumpkin. Your kitchen must have been filled with the most heavenly scent!

Catherine said...

Oh my, June! You have the BEST recipes ever!

I am sorry and a bit surprised to hear that you had a tough year... The blogging world lets us see only one little part of each other's life and sharing the raw truth is a rare thing.

Love and warmth to you and your beautiful family!

June said...

Clare: I can't wait to hear what you're making for Thanksgiving!

Catherine: Thanks for your kind words. It's true that blogging is a bit of a buffer against the reality of all our lives. But who wants to wallow in reality? Thanks for your friendship always!

Magnolia Handspun said...

You have the best recipies June...sans the bacon for me, this is something I would love to try!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanks Giving with your beautiful family.
I am so grateful for out friendship across the miles from Montana to Maine.
Much love

June said...

Oh, dear Camilla! Let me know what you stuff in your pumpkin. I know it'll be grand at your house. Have a peaceful and lovely holiday with your sweet family. Is Montana snowy yet? I'm waiting for your lovely winter photographs. Love across the miles to you and yours...

meemsnyc said...

Oh my, stuffing in a pumpkin and baked. I bet the smell is amazing. It looks so delicious.

Kris said...

I'm so happy hear that your little family is weathering those unnamed setbacks and tribulations that were encountered this year. Thanksgiving is a time to take stock, count your blessing and hold your dear ones close.

Now, about that pumpkin - what a terrific idea to stuff it! How inspiring. I'm going to try it with chunks of ham, potato, mushrooms & green beans. Then I'll snack on toasted pumpkin seeds while it bakes. YUM. Thanks for the idea! :-D

Linda said...

We're not pumpkin eaters here - it's taking a while to catch on in Scotland other than for Hallow'een (and even then I prefer the traditional turnip lantern). But this looks delicious. I saw some wonderful pumpkins in a street market in France this week. They actually looked so good I wondered if they were being sold for decoration.

June said...

Meems: The aroma alone makes it worth the scraping of the pumpkin (not one of my favorite tasks).

Kris: Thank you. We are all holding one another close and being very grateful. Please let us know how your version turns out. It sounds like an amazing combination.

Linda: Scotland! France! Who needs pumpkins!! Now where do I find a big enough turnip for a lantern?

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