Wine + Food with Teona: Volume 7

Harvest Time Stuffed Pumpkin + Red Burgundy
Photo Credit: Wine Food by Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker

I’ve been not so secretly hoping to find my way around a pumpkin-related pairing post, but this recent excursion I took with my family to the local farm to pick pumpkins with the little one steered me back to pumpkin recipes. We ended up getting so many pumpkins in various sizes and shapes that the same old pumpkin recipes were not cutting it, and I would not have forgiven myself for carving them Jack-o’-lanterns and not eat at least some of ‘em. 🙂

As fall is a time for harvest and gatherings, I find this meal to be very well suited this time of the year. Served with copious bottles of red Burgundy, a ginormous stuffed pumpkin is so much fun to have on brisk fall days with friends and family. It celebrates the abundance of the season and serves as the warming transition to the colder days to come. So here’s an adaptation of an adapted recipe. 🙂 

First things first, you’ll want to get your hands on a big heirloom pumpkin. It will roast with so much more flavor than a plain old orange jack-o’-lantern one. The stuffing consists of multiple layers of crusty bread, sautéed Shiitake mushrooms (or other wild mushrooms at your disposal), kale, nutty alpine cheese such as Gruyere, and warm spices. You’ll press everything into the squash, cover it with its lid, and let it roast until the pumpkin starts to sink a bit, and the stuffing is steaming and melty.

 Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp extra-virgin oil + some for rubbing
8 ounces wild mushrooms chopped and stemmed ( you can adjust the qty to your liking, I personally love mushrooms and use way too much)
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 bunch of stemmed and chopped kale
3 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Pumpkin ( about 10-12 lbs)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
1/2 tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
1/2 loaf of country bread (sliced and toasted)
12 ounces of grated Comte and/or Gruyere cheese
3 Tbsp fresh chives (thinly sliced)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Warm 1Tbsp of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and beginning to brown (about 6 mins).
  3. Stir in the 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Pour in the 1/4 cup of water and add the kale along with 1/2 tsp of the salt. Toss the leaves into the mixture. Cover and cook until the kale is wilted and tender (about 6mins). Remove the lid and keep cooking until the liquid in the bottom is evaporated ( about 1-2mins). Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
  5. Cut a cap off the top of the pumpkin, creating large enough opening to fill it (about 9 inches in diameter). Scoop out and discard the stringy thingies. Save the seeds for roasting later on if you’d like (can use as topping as well. Yum!). Place the pumpkin on a lined baking sheet and rub it with olive oil all over on the outside. Sprinkle the inside of a pumpkin with 2 1/2 tsp of salt.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the 1 1/4 cups of the heavy cream, 1 1/4 milk, 2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp pepper, and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt.
  7. Fill the pumpkin in layers starting with about one third each of the toasted bread slices, the grated cheese, half of the chives, and half of the cooked mushrooms and kale. Pour in about one-third of a cream mixture followed by another 1/3 of toasted bread slices and firmly pack the filling down tight. Repeat layering and pressing it, ending it with the cream mixture over the top.
  8. Put the pumpkin cap on and roast the whole thing for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the exterior browns and wrinkles, the filling is hot in the center, and the pumpkin flesh is very tender.
  9. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and rest for about 10 mins with the cap on.
  10. Serve the dish in shallow bowls.

The Pairing: Bouchard AÎné & Fils “La Mazière” Fixin 2015
From the world’s undisputed great wine regions, Burgundy, this gorgeous wine is full-bodied with somewhat grippy tannins and a firm acidity keeping the fresh red fruit in check. It offers a charming combination of bright red fruit and tea leaf aromas with a whiff of smoke and at last, a dab of vanilla lingering in a generous finale. Yup, this is an incredible offering, and oddly enough (cause pumpkin), it complements the natural sweetness of the pumpkin in combination with the fattiness of the cream mixture, and earthy, umami flavors of the filling. Yum…

As always, please let me know your thoughts, and I hope you get to try the combination of these beauties.

Gagimarjot!

P.S. I despise the pumpkin spice…