By Chef Richard Jones from Green Door Gourmet I am often asked for recipes featuring unusual vegetables or vegetarian twists on classic dishes. A colleague challenged me to create a dish that is a vegetarian centerpiece rivaling the ubiquitous holiday turkey. I developed this recipe using regional specialties such as cornmeal, pecans and candy onions stuffed into a Tennessee heirloom pumpkin and garnished with local honey. This dish is the size of an average holiday turkey and when presented and carved at the table, your guests will be wowed. 1 x 6â8 pound Tennessee cheese pumpkin (Cinderella works, too) 3 ribs celery = 1 cup, diced
1 large onion = 1 cup, diced
1 large carrot = 2 cups, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 whole star anise, crushed
1 teaspoon coriander
8 cups crumbled cornbread
2 whole eggs, beaten
Honey for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut out the top of the pumpkin and remove seeds and pulp from the interior (as you would for a Jack-o-lantern). Place into a deep baking pan and pour in one cup of water. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn upside down to let the accumulated juices run out. Meanwhile, dice onion, carrot and celery. In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, add the coriander and crushed star anise and heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool before grinding in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Return the pan to the stove and add one tablespoon of oil and the vegetables. Allow to cook slowly until the onion is translucent without any golden brown coloring. Pour vegetables into a large mixing bowl with rosemary and ground spices. Add crumbled cornbread, ½ cup of crushed pecans, then eggs and stir to combine. Pour in warm apple cider and mix well. Stuff the par-baked pumpkin and then return to the oven, covered, for a further 45-60 minutes. Check that the internal temperature has reached 155 degrees F. Garnish with the remaining whole pecans and bake uncovered for a further 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with honey before serving. Makes 12 servings.