My visiting niece, Little Diamond, is vegetarian. AdventureMan and I are not vegetarian, we laughingly say we are meatatarian or meatavore, but the truth is, we don’t eat a lot of meat, either. Last I tried a new recipe, not entirely original, but a lot of fun, and it turned out really really good. It is also surprisingly easy.
(This is not my photo, but it looks a lot like my pumpkin. It is from visual recipes, another great recipe site)
I got the idea from a quilting friend in Kuwait who baked a pumpkin full of a meat stuffing. It sounded yummy. I filled it with a channa dal / burgul mixture (recipe follows) and I added:
1 chopped apple
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
1/2 cup slightly chopped walnuts
Here is the original recipe for the stuffing:
• 3/4 cup chana dal
• One large onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic (or more, to taste), minced or pressed
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup bulgur wheat
• 2 cups hot water
• 1 teaspoon salt (or less, to taste)
• 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
• freshly ground black pepper
Soak chana dal for 10-12 hours. Drain and rinse.
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft (5-8 minutes). Add drained chana dal and bulgur wheat. Sauté for about 3 more minutes, until bulgur wheat is browned (it will begin to smell heavenly). Add all remaining ingredients except pepper, bring to a boil, and lower heat.
Simmer, covered, for about 35 minutes. At this point, check to see if the chana dal is tender enough for you. If not add a quarter cup more water and simmer another few minutes or until you are satisfied. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and mix in pepper.
Makes about 6 cups.
The only hard part is remembering to soak the chana dal.
Cut a lid off the top of the pumpkin. I usually put a notch, so I know how the lid fits back on.
You have to clean out the pumpkin, throwing out the innards (you can toast the seeds if you want). I also cut some of the pumpkin flesh into small pieces and added it to the stuffing, but that is optional.
Stuff the pumpkin tightly with the stuffing mixture, then line a baking bowl or pan with the remaining stuffing, set the pumpkin in the center, pour 1/2 cup of water – or wine, now that we are in Qatar – or broth – over the stuffing, and cover loosely with foil.
Bake at 350°F / 175°C for one hour, or more, until the pumpkin flesh is soft all the way through. Cut the pumpkin into slices to serve, and heap extra stuffing on top.
Additional hint – I use a Misto, a bottle you can fill with the best olive oil, pump, and spray. I spray the bowl before I put the stuffing in, to make cleaning easier, and I also spray the pumpkin to give it that glisten. It is very sparing with the olive oil, but you still get the taste.
Little Diamond asked if it were a potiron or a citrouille, two words the French use for pumpkins, but none of us could say definitely. I thought it was a potiron, because it is more squat and I thought citrouille were taller and oranger, but Little Diamond actually looked it up online after dinner.
AdventureMan reminded me of the time in Tunisia when Halloween was coming and I went to the market and bought a whole pumpkin to carve. I don’t think it was really a pumpkin at all, it was a huge pumpkin-like squash, and it was sold in slices, by the kilo. I bought the smallest one I could find, but it still caused quite a commotion, buying the whole squash, not just a slice.
And I was thinking, too, of my French friend who shared her recipe with me for the very best pumpkin pie I have eaten in my life, ever.
Halloween is fast approaching, and pumpkins have flooded the markets. Around now, the price should be approaching rock bottom!
To make this recipe, you need a jelly-roll pan. It is like a cookie sheet, only the sides are just a little bit higher. You also need a clean cloth dishtowel.
You think you can’t do this, but you can. And once you have done it, a whole new and fabulous realm of desserts opens up before you. Chocolate with mint stuffing, Raspberry with blueberry stuffing – oh, the possibilities are endless.
It’s simpler than it looks. You will laugh when you have done your first, laugh at all your anxieties. Woooo Hoooooo, you did it!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll
This is a great Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert when you are sick of the same-old same-old desserts. Plus, one of these old fashioned rolled desserts always looks very elegant!
(Photo courtesy Allrecipes.com)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 package cream cheese
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15” x 10” jelly roll pan. Line with waxed paper, grease and flour paper (there is a reason!) Sprinkle a flat tea towel or dish cloth (flat woven, not terry cloth) with powdered sugar.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in a larger mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin, stir in the flour mixture. Spread evenly in prepared jelly roll pan, sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Bake 13 – 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake out of pan onto prepared tea-towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake, remove towel, and spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Roll cake back up again (it will want to be in the rolled position after cooling that way) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.