408 - Thank Goodness
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favourite holidays. In the middle of Thanksgiving Day, my family would typically go to a local bird sanctuary where the Canada geese make their final stop before migrating south. Then, we would head home for turkey dinner. However, one year we went to my Aunt Alexandra's. A fantastic cook, she changed the idea of Thanksgiving and presented a wonderful stew in a pumpkin.
Without a doubt, this is a Great Pumpkin recipe. I'd like you to share it with you so you have a chance to crack it open yourself!
Method, Part One - Making the Stew:
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 6 slices of peameal bacon, chopped
- 3 lbs. Beef chuck, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 3 white onions, sliced
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 acorn squash, peeled, and cubed
- 2 bottles of beer (*a nice, dark ale is our choice)
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar (*you can also use white)
- 2 tsp. fresh rosemary
- 1 cup plum tomatoes, canned
- pinch of salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 tsp. white flour
- 6 pumpkins, hollowed out
Heat oil in medium-sized stockpot. Add bacon and cook until crispy, withdraw and reserve.
Add beef in batches. Brown, withdraw, and reserve.
Add onions, celery, garlic, and squash. Stir. Allow to cook for 8 minutes with the lid on.
Add beer, vinegar, rosemary, tomatoes, salt, and bay leaves. Stir.
Re-add bacon and beef. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour.
Mix hot water with flour (thickening agent), stir until thick. Add to stew.
Method, Part Two - Stuffing the Pumpkin:
Thoroughly wash pumpkins. Slice off the top of the pumpkin, by cutting into it while turning the pumpkin. Remove lid and trim off attached seeds.
Place seeds on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and roast under the broiler until browned.
Using a large spoon, remove pumpkin meat, scooping it away from the insides of the pumpkin (*make sure you keep the right lids with the right pumpkins so they fit). Once hollowed out, ladle stew into each pumpkin, filling about ¾. Place lid on top. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 350º for one hour. (For larger pumpkins, allow a bit more baking time).
Garnish with pumpkin seeds and/or corn bread.
Serve immediately and enjoy!