Stuffed for the holidays!

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For some of you, Thanksgiving dinner is approaching fast. Here are three delicious Autumnal recipes for you to try on your holiday table this year using vegetables that you may never have thought about stuffing! Pumpkin with a curried beef filling, White Cabbage with a very traditional English flavour and Nappa (Chinese or Wombok) Cabbage stuffed Asian style.

Above are the main ingredients for the three recipes in this blog!

Let’s begin with the technique for hollowing out and stuffing these veggies!

The pumpkin is the easiest and doesn’t need much explaining. Cut a hole in the top to create a lid and scrape out all the pith and seeds using a spoon. Be careful using the knife! You can also use any large squash for this recipe. Simmer the pumpkin in salted water for 30 minutes or until the flesh starts to become tender.

For the white cabbage, begin by cutting off the top at a bit of an angle, like the pumpkin. Pierce through the layers of leaves for the lid with 4 toothpicks. This will ensure that it holds it together. Then, using a shape blade, insert the tip into the core of the cabbage and begin to twist.

Continue twisting the knife until pieces of the cabbage core pop out. When you’ve dug out enough using the knife, scrape away any extra using a spoon.

Scrape out enough of the core so you have enough room for the stuffing and simmer in salted water for about 45 minutes. Don’t over do the simmering or you’ll end up with mush!

For the Nappa cabbage, begin by simmering it first for about 20 minutes in salted water. Do not boil it! Allow it to cool in ice-water and then peel back the leaves. When the innermost leaves begin to crack when you peel them back, you can stop. (For the sake of the images, the cabbage above is still raw in order to demonstrate more clearly the process of peeling it back).

Using a very sharp knife, cut out the raw leaves of the simmered cabbage by slicing through the core.

Remove the raw leaves and the core and reserve them for another meal!

Lie the simmered cabbage leaves (that are still connected to the base) on their side and cupping three or four of the inner leaves, spoon in the filling. When all the filling is in, stand the cabbage back up and tie it off very well with kitchen twine.

Here you have the Nappa cabbage that was simmered first, then stuffed, tied and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Place it in a suitable, greased dish, such as the Fornetto Garlic Roaster dish I used here.

Preheat your Fornetto to about 190C (375F)!

Place the stuffed vegetables on the lowest rack. It is completely up to you but smoking these would be a great variation to the recipes!

Because the vegetables you’re stuffing are par-cooked and the filling is cooked, they only need to bake long enough to finish cooking the shell (like the white cabbage above for instance), to heat the centre through fully and set the egg, which binds the stuffing.

Here’s the pumpkin that was baked for about 1.5 hours. Times will vary based on the size of the vegetable you’re stuffing so keep an eye on it! You’ll notice string around the pumpkin in the image above and the white cabbage below. Do this to avoid the vegetable from splitting open white it bakes.

Both the cabbage and the pumpkin were baked in a greased Fornetto Pie Dish.

Nappa cabbage is far more delicate so I suggest covering it lightly while it cooks. You’ll want nice browning but avoid burning it. If any leaves burn, they can be easily peeled away and discarded before serving.

Because all of the stuffing for these recipes contain egg, the stuffing slices very nicely and doesn’t crumble when you cut it.

Serve the pumpkin as a starter dish accompanied with fresh coriander. To counteract the sweetness of the gourde, serve it with a spicy sauce or chutney. Click here for the recipe!

As I mentioned, the white cabbage is stuffed English style! A variant on “Bubble and Squeak” which is normally left-over potatoes and cabbage from a roast dinner fried up together and usually served for breakfast with bacon and eggs. This has all of that!

Serve it with fried cherry tomatoes and a good lager! Click here for the recipe!

You have a couple of options for serving the Nappa cabbage but I like slicing the top off and serving it whole at the table. You can also serve it sliced. Remember to remove the string before it goes to the table!

Serve it drizzled with dark soya sauce and top off with slices of fresh chilies and green onions! Click here for the recipe!

You’re in for a treat. Enjoy!

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