Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Dark Side
as Fall fog rolls in from the Forth,
my desire is always to save some.
Oh cull of Hallow's Eve.
To the tune of Mull of Kintyre
Having secured my annual pumpkin collection before the stroke of midnight on Hallowe'en I was equipped to raise the
in the shape of yet another Pumpkin in a Chicken in a Pumpkin
I repeated the tasty stuffing I used in my Classic Pumpkin
except that I processed up hazelnuts instead of the chestnuts.
To be honest I thought them too grainy despite being chopped quite small
(which seems to be a persistent feature of the nut
and as usual the stuffing ended up unnaturally soggy.
I'm starting to think that next year I might approach the whole thing from a more pot-roast
after all it ain't really a roast chicken, so much as a poached one. I should stop fighting this,
I suspect it's where the moist succulence of the chicken all comes from anyway,
and abandon traditionally stuffing the chicken at all (I could always cook a stuffing separately which is usually better anyway).
Perhaps surrounding the chicken with vegetables and stock, or just sticking in a few bits of fruit - apple chunks maybe?
It would stop me worrying so much about the build-up of liquid in the pumpkin.
Though it's a good idea to keep it to a minimum lest the squash split and spill liquid all over your oven.
Anyway, it all turned out nicely enough - Alex One and Caroline kindly came around to help me eat it.
I served it with mashed herbed potatoes, glazed carrots with sage and
creamy mustard Cavolo Nero
They also tried out my liver dates
with a garlicky mushroom salad
They really liked the salad!
Things I re-learned about making Chicken in a Pumpkin:
- Chicken cooked in a pumpkin is fabulously moist.
- You can keep the excess liquid to a minimum by leaving off the pumpkin lid for most of the cooking time -
perhaps put it on at the beginning and the end.
- Occasionally suck out surplus fluid from inside the pumpkin with a turkey baster and use it for the gravy.
- It's not the end of the world if the chicken is too small for the pumpkin.
It will poach all the same just don't try to fill the gap with stuffing, it'll just turn soggy.
- It's just impossible to tell how much space there will be inside a pumpkin until you've opened it up. Buy extra!
Yet Another Pumpkin in a Chicken in a Pumpkin
Might be time to retire the pleasantly alliterative, but unpleasantly soggy pumpkin stuffing for a pot-roast poaching approach.
Maybe next year?
- a chicken
- a pumpkin
- some stuffing
Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Discard.
Make the stuffing.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 9.
Give the chicken a blast in the oven to crisp up its skin.
Stuff the stuffing into the chicken and the chicken into the pumpkin.
Put the pumpkin in a casserole dish large enough to hold the contents in case the pumpkin explodes,
put the lid on the pumpkin and put the whole thing in the oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to Gas Mark 5-6.
Bake for hours until the chicken (and stuffing!) is cooked, removing the lid when it all gets too wet inside,
and turning down the oven if the pumpkin starts to char.
Peel open a bib
in the side of the pumpkin and serve slices of the chicken and pumpkin flesh.
with the leftover chicken carcass.
Creamy Shredded Cavolo Nero with Mustard
- 300g Cavolo Nero, shredded
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 150ml carton double cream
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Shred the cabbage leaves into about ¾" strips. Remove any super-fat stalks.
Boil the Cavolo Nero for 6-8 minutes until tender, drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for 4-5 minutes.
Add the cream and mustard. Stir in the Cavolo Nero and heat through, season to taste.
Tip: Add a pinch of saffron to the cream to give extra flavour and colour. Ideal served with roast chicken, beef or cooked sausages.
Marinated Mushroom Salad
raw salad veg vegan
straight mushroom salad you can't
overdo the garlic ;)
- mixed soft leaf salad
- button mushrooms
- red onion, thinly sliced
- juice of ½ lemon
- juice of 1 orange
- olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
Thinly slice the red onion, cut up any of the larger mushrooms.
Mix the juice of an orange, half a lemon, about the same quantity of olive oil and the garlic.
Season and stir in the mushrooms and onions.
Leave to marinate at room temperature for a few hours, shaking occasionally.
Mix through the lettuce leaves and serve.
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