Homemade Pumpkin Purée

Nothing quite beats a pie crafted from homemade pumpkin purée! Substitute this purée in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin.

Ingredients:
1 (4-6 pound) Winter Luxury pumpkin, rinsed and dried
Sea salt

Method:
1. Heat the oven to 400°.

2. Remove the stem and split the pumpkin in half from top to bottom, using a large cleaver and a mallet. Scoop out the seeds and fiber with a large metal spoon or ice cream scoop, cutting the fibers with kitchen shears if necessary. Reserve seeds for another use.

3. Sprinkle the flesh with kosher salt and lay the halves, flesh side down, on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Roast until a paring knife can be easily inserted and removed from the pumpkin, 30 to 45 minutes. Test in several places to ensure doneness.

4. Remove the pan to a rack and cool the pumpkin for 1 hour. Using a large spoon, remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the flesh is smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Bacon

A great holiday side!

Ingredients:
3 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed of any tough core ends and halved lengthwise
6 slices thick-cut bacon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
20-25 whole fresh chestnuts
½ cup turkey or chicken stock
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. To prep the chestnuts, cut a slit in the shell of each chestnut with a serrated knife. Roast the chestnuts in a cast iron skillet in a 400° oven for 20 minutes or until tender. Peel them as soon as they are cool enough to handle. If you have difficulty peeling them, reheat them for 5 minutes to further loosen their skins.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain well.

3. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the butter. When the foam subsides, add the Brussels sprouts and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chestnuts and season with salt and pepper. Add the turkey or chicken stock, simmer until heated through and serve.

Rustic Challah Bread, Mushroom & Herb Dressing

Fragrant with fresh herbs and accented by toasted Challah bread and meaty mushrooms, this stuffing is always a hit!

Ingredients:
1 large loaf challah (about 1 pound)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering baking dishes
2 cups yellow onion, diced (from 2 medium onions)
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups wild mushrooms, such as Matsutake, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable broth

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 300° and set an oven rack in the middle position. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. Cut the challah into 1-inch cubes and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until dry and lightly toasted. Set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 350°.

3. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add the celery, mushrooms, herbs, salt, and pepper and cook until celery is slightly softened, about 5 minutes more.

4. In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes, onion/vegetable mixture, and chicken broth and toss well. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with buttered foil and refrigerate until ready to bake (up to overnight).

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until golden, about 25 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Potatoes à la Robuchon

Of all the haute cuisine in legendary chef Joël Robuchon’s repertoire, he was best known for these super-silky potatoes.

Ingredients:
2½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes or fingerling potatoes, all of a similar size
1 pound unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
¼ cup milk
Sea salt, to taste

Method:
1. Place unpeeled potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender. Drain and peel. Transfer to a bowl and let potatoes cool slightly.

2. Turn potatoes through a food mill on the finest setting, back into the cooking pot. Heat pot over medium heat stirring until heated through and steam begins to come off the bottom of the pot. Add butter in 5 additions, allowing each addition of butter to be almost melted before adding the next until it all has been incorporated.

3. Stir in warm milk until combined. Using a whisk, vigorously stir potatoes until fluffy. Season with salt. Transfer to a serving dish and smooth the top of the potatoes with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.

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