Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fully Grounded!

Macinato con Salvia e Cipolla & Zucca al Forno
Sage & Onion Ground Meat & Baked Hokkaido Pumpkin

Some of my favorite things come out of the ground... meaning vegetables of course. Like this tiny Hokkaido pumpkin, which as you know by now, can be eaten peel and all- and you know that is something that I like especially! It makes this dish so much prettier- and easier too!

Another kind of ground that I enjoy, is ground meat- in this case a mix of beef and pork, which I seasoned with sage and onion, into its own rich little gravy and served with the baked pumpkin, with was laced with garlic, ginger and nutmeg... mmm! You know you have got to like that! You should do in any case... because I certainly did!

Cooking is always about timing, so the first thing that I did was to get a little water boiling in a small saucepan to steam the pumpkin. I cut it open and removed the seeds, sprinkled with salt and pepper then placed a few slices of ginger and a clove of garlic inside. I put the pumpkin on my little steam rack, put the lid on the saucepan and turned on the oven... then like a whirling dervish, turned on another burner and heated up my frying pan ready for the ground meat!

I fried the meat in its own fat with some chopped onion and sage, salt, pepper and a little crushed garlic. Once the meat had all changed color and the onion had become translucent, I sprinkled everything lightly with flour and added a squeeze of tomato paste. I stirred this in well and when it seemed like it was beginning to dry out too much, deglazed the pan with a splash of red wine, swiftly followed by a little boiling water, so as not to interrupt the cooking process.

I reduced the heat on the meat to a low simmer and at this point, after 10 minutes or so of steaming, took the pumpkin out of the steamer, removed the garlic and ginger and drizzled it lightly with a little sesame oil. I then spooned in the ground meat mixture, added a light drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of salt and a hint of nutmeg and popped it into the oven at 300°F for around 10 minutes. I had a little more meat than would fit into the pumpkin, which I simply served on the side... worse things could have happened! Haha! Because the whole combination was really delicious! And so easy! Hope you give it a go yourselves sometime!

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