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 - 2006-02-08: Recipe of the Day

Pumpkin Pot Pies Recipe
Serves 12

1 T unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 1 1/2 pound cornish game hens
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 bunch each fresh rosemary, sage, basil, parsley, thyme
salt and pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1 bottle dry vermouth or dry white wine
6 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
4 leeks cut up
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 medium white turnips, peeled and quartered
6 parsnips, peeled and quartered
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut in one inch pieces
1 acorn squash peeled, seeded, and cut in wedges
1/2 pound white pearl onions
1/2 pound yellow pearl onions
12 3 pound pumpkins 6 pounds homemade puff pastry -or- 6 1 pound boxes (12 sheets) frozen prepared puff pastry, thawed
pot pie sauce (see recipe)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

In a small saute pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and saute briefly, just until it becomes fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

Fill the cavity of each hen with a slice of lemon, some of the sauteed garlic, 2 sprigs of thhme, 1 sprig or rosemary, 1 sage leaf, 2 basil leafs, 2 sprigs of parsley, and salt and pepper. Place the hens in a deep casserole. cover with the chicken stock, wine, ,6 carrots, leeks, and celery, and poach, covered over medium heat for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender. Let stand in the broth for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove the meat from the bones in large chunks discarding the bones, skin, and herbs. Reduce the cooking liquid by boiling over high heat until it is reduced to 4 cups. Strain and reserve to make the pot pie sauce.

Meanwhile in a large stockpot bring 1 inch of water to a boil add the turnips, parsnips, 2 pounds of carrots, and squash, and cook, covered over medium high heat until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Using a parin knife, make an X on the bottom of each onion. Place in a saucepan with just enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel; the skins will slip right off.

Wash the pumpkins well and cut off the top quarter of each, creating an opening about 8" in diameter. Reserve the tops. With a spoon, remove the seeds and string fibers from both the top and bottom.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Roll the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thick, and with a paring knife cut 12 circles approximately 10" in diameter; reserve excess pastry. Fill each pumpkin with the meat of half a hen, dividing white and dark meat evenly. Divide the onions, and turnip parsnip medley evenly among the pumpkins Ladle equal amounts of the pot pie sauce over the fillings. Brush the rim of each pumpkin with the lightly beaten egg wash and place a circular piece of pastry over the top, gently pressing the pastry around the rim of the pumpkin to make it adhere.

Decorate the pastry caps with leaves made from the pastry scraps. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Cut a small vent in each pastry cap. Place the stuffed pumpkins and the pumpkin tops on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and keep pumpkins there for 5 minutes. Serve piping hot with pumpkin tops as a garnish.

Pot Pie Sauce

Makes 4 1/2 cups

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 Tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
4 cups reduced stock
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 Tablespoons cognac
salt and pepper
fresh lemon juice

In large shallow pan melt the butter over medium low heat. Mix in the flour gradually, whisking constantly. Cook until smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock, whisking to break up lumps. Add the heavy cream, cognac, and salt and pepper to taste.

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