Sunday, November 15, 2009
Recently, I heard Terry Gross interviewing Ruth Reichl on Fresh Air. Terry asked Ruth what fall recipes are her favorite and she described this Roast Pumpkin with Cheese "Fondue" from the November 08 issue of Gourmet. You layer toasted bread, two kinds of Swiss cheese (Gruyere and Emmantal) and a mixture of cream, broth, and nutmeg inside the pumpkin and then bake the whole thing for an hour or so. Terri asked, "Is it a soup?" but I don't remember exactly what Ruth said.
When writing the title of this recipe, Gourmet puts fondue in quotation marks and I had been calling it fondue until my mom asked me what actually makes something a fondue.
Being Swiss, I thought I owed you a thorough definition of fondue: Fondue originated in Switzerland in the 18th century and the term is used to describe the communal eating process of dipping something in a pot of hot cheese, oil, or broth. Traditional Swiss fondue was a combination of "at least two varieties of cheeses that are melted with wine and a bit of flour and served communally out of pot called a 'caquelon.' Long forks are used by each guest to spear a cube of bread then the bread is dipped into the cheese and eaten" (www.gourmetsleuth.com).
Now, because there are already layers of bread in the pumpkin, you don't really sit around and dip into it with forks like real fondue. It can be eaten as a vegetarian main course or, like we did last night, as an appetizer. I served it with more bread on the side and slices of green apple. You scrape the cooked pumpkin flesh with a spoonful of the melty cheesy goodness and it tastes divine!
Next time, I might try some white wine in place of the broth and a little kirsch for a more traditional fondue flavor (although this is close) and it could definitely use more salt.
Roast Pumpkin with Cheese "Fondue" (8 main course servings)
from Gourmet 11/08
1 (15 inch) baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 orange pumpkin (about 7 pounds)
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 cup reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
2.5 cups coarsely grated Gruyere (6oz)
2.5 cups coarsely grated Emmental (6oz)
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 450 and position rack in lower third of the oven. Toast baguette slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet until tops are crisp (bread will still be pale), about 7 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.
Remove the top of the pumpkin by cutting a circle (about 3 inches in diameter) with a small sharp knife. Remove any seeds and fibers from the inside of the pumpkin (including the lid) with a spoon. Season the inside with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
In a bowl, whisk together the cream, broth, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Combine cheeses together in a separate bowl.
Put a layer of toasted bread in the bottom of the pumpkin. Top with 1 cup cheese and 1/2 cup cream mixture. Continue layering (bread, cheese, cream) until the pumpkin is filled from about a 1/2 inch from the top, using all of the cream mixture (you may have bread & cheese left over).
Cover pumpkin with the top and put in an oiled small roasting pan. Brush the pumpkin all over with olive oil. Bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed, about 1.25 -1.5 hours.