Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen!Pull up a chair and have a cup of tea, while we have a little chat.
Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m sure you’ve seen all the advertisements suggesting you order your turkey early, or the advertisements telling you of the best places to go to get the best prices on your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Or maybe you’ve endured the countless requests to donate turkeys, or money for turkeys for people who are having trouble making ends meet or even putting food on the table. All presented with the unspoken and underlying belief that Thanksgiving is all about the Turkey. And it has been all about the turkey, since the first pilgrims celebrated the Harvest Festival in 1621. Or should I say, it has become all about the Turkey. People stress themselves out looking for the perfect turkey to cook in their oven in the most perfect way. Buying such a huge bird that it could easily feed many more than actually expected for dinner. I know, I know, it’s about the leftovers.
Maybe its because I’ve always been such a rebel. Always fighting against tradition or always fighting against what I’m expected or supposed to do. Or maybe its because I think outside of the box, but in anycase, I’m going to share with you what is important for me on Thanksgiving and why I say,”forget the turkey- It’s still Thanksgiving!”
Let the turkey live! I choose not to eat animals because I believe the animal protein is harder for my body to digest, and I believe as long as there are other means to get our protein, we shouldn’t be needing to kill animals to be healthy and fed. So, what does Thanksgiving mean to me? It is a festival or celebration about life and the abundance in our lives. A time to come together with others with love and gratefulness. It’s about being kind and counting our many blessings. A time for examining the past year and remembering and cherishing memories made this year and in years past. And Thanksgiving is about sharing. Sharing with those in need and sharing with those we love. Sharing things we are all grateful for, and for sharing a meal that nourishes our souls and bodies and celebrates our abundance.
For my centerpiece this year, I will have a roasted pumpkin filled with stuffing. Slow roasted and toasty with the crunchy part of the stuffing some people love to munch on and the soft stuffing which has cooked into a savory soft bread pudding texture inside of the pumpkin. The bonus is the pumpkin flesh that becomes soft and melty and compliments the stuffing and the flavor of the Bell’s Stuffing Seasoning.
To begin, I prepare my ingredients.
- 1 carrot, chopped fine
- 3 baby onions, white and green parts, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins (or black raisins, or cranberries)
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Now it’s time to cut open and clean out that pumpkin! You can do it!
Now for the rest of the ingredients:
- 1 1/2 tsp Bell’s Seasoning (mixture of Rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 3 cups of dried cubed stuffing (could make your own if you don’t want packaged)
and for the stock:
- 2 1/2 Tbsp no-chicken stock powder
- 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (can be omitted if following a no fat diet)
- 2 cups water
Next step is to water saute the onions, carrots and celery. When they have softened, you can add in the seasonings (Bell’s Seasoning, thyme, garlic powder and white pepper). While you are sauteing the veggies, put 2 cups water into small saucepan and place on stove. Turn to high and heat water, when it reaches a boil, whisk in the non-chicken stock powder, and the Earth Balance, if you are using it.
The next step is to add the bread crumbs to the saute pan with the veggies and seasoning. Stir until all is combined. Then take the saucepan holding the stock mixture and pour about 3/4 of stock mixture into bread cube mixture. Mix all together and add more stock if you like your stuffing moister.
And finally, you can spoon the stuffing into the emptied pumpkin, filling it all the way, and even mounding it, to ensure the crunchy bits that will form on the top. Also wrap the lid in aluminum foil, so it doesn’t burn while the rest of the pumpkin is baking. Any leftover stuffing you can spoon into a loaf pan (I used a glass one here), and bake it with the pumpkin, spreading it thin if you like it crunchy, or putting it in a smaller ovenproof container if you want it softer.
Bake in a preheated oven, 375 degrees fahrenheit, for approximately 50 to 60 minutes. Keep checking in the oven when you reach 50 minutes, the pumpkin will tell you when it’s done, it will be soft when poked with a fork, and the stuffing should look crunchy and browned, but not too dark…
Maybe mine came out a little too brown. I’ll remember, next time.
But it was good. Very good. I served it with mashed potatoes and gravy, and a big, green salad. I could imagine for Thanksgiving dinner, I would add more of the usual fixings, like green beans, or broccoli or cranberry sauce…you can add whatever else you would like on your menu.
Another change one could make, would be to change the squash out. The Pumpkin was good, but Buttercup Squash or Red Kuri Squash, or Kabocha, which are all squashes in the Hubbard Squash family, would also work very well in this recipe for taste and for appearance. They are also pretty winter squashes and their taste is deeper and sweeter, with a silky texture. I always like to say, recipes are not rules, but merely guidelines and you should make things the way you know you will like them.
Thank you for visiting me today, at Vegan Mamis Good Food Kitchen. I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe and our talk about what Thanksgiving means to me. Let me know what you are Thankful for this year, and how you will celebrate this beautiful holiday. Take care and remember to feed yourself and your loved ones real food, good food, made with love, to keep everyone healthy and fed!