Thursday, December 31, 2009

Arugula Salad in a Whole Roasted Pumpkin with Chevre and Peppitas

I decided to be creative for Christmas dinner this year. For the past several years we have been going into SF for a special holiday dinner; this year I decided to cook at home. I had seen a whole roasted pumpkin in a South American cooking show and decided to give it a try. It was remarkably easy, and remarkably good.

I purchased one 14 pound hubbard squash (any hard winter squash with yellow or orange flesh is considered a pumpkin; that Libby canned pumpkin that you make your pie with is most likely butternut or banana squash).
I pierced the pumpkin about 5 times with a long skewer (so it wouldn’t explode) and then placed it in the oven on a cookie sheet. Not knowing how long this would take I started it 4 hours before dinner at 300 degrees. Checking every 30 minutes or so (I was actually curious too), it took approximately 2½ hours to be skewer tender. I set it aside till dinner. One very interesting thing was a clear “juice” that pooled at the stem of the pumpkin while roasting (Harry Potter pumpkin juice?) it was sweet with a nutty flavor.

Once everyone was seated at the table, I brought several bowls to the table - wild baby arugula, toasted pumpkin seeds, crumbled Chevre, and Pomegranate vinaigrette

I chose to cut open the top of the pumpkin much like you would do a jack-o-lantern, next time I will cut the top off straight across and a bit lower to give more mixing room. Then scooped all of the seeds and strings from the inside.

Then I put all the ingredients in the pumpkin to toss them. Starting with the greens, then the pumpkins seeds, stirring and incorporating spoons of the pumpkin flesh into the salad, last the Chevre and vinaigrette. Folding gently until the greens just wilted.

It’s one I’ll be trying again.

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