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Pig in a Pumpkin – Pork Braised in a Pumpkin – Food Wishes

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6YGrmbTWxE&w=560&h=315]

hello this is chef john from food wishes comm with pig in a pumpkin that's right i've always wanted to cook a pig in a pumpkin but i could never find a pumpkin big enough or a pig small enough so i finally just settled for cooking part of a pig in a pumpkin and the results were almost as delicious as they were beautiful since this really was one of the more visually stunning things i made in a long time so with that let's go hang get started and the first thing i did was cut up some pork shoulder which is often sold in butcher shops as pork butt and why that is is not nearly as entertaining of a story as you'd think but anyway i have about four pounds of pork shoulder here which were formerly sold as two pork roasts which is why they kind of have these weird flaps since the butchers kind of tuck those in and then tied them up to make him look like one solid piece but anyway notwithstanding a couple fatty flaps i went ahead and cut that into nice large chunks and then once that was said i transferred it into a large mixing bowl and proceeded to season it with a whole bunch of kosher salt and yes we do need that much i also touched in some freshly ground black pepper and of course a little shake of cayenne as well as a little bit of dry thyme i hadn't planned on that but there was like a half teaspoon left in the bottom of one of my jars so i figured what the heck let's throw that in and then i followed that with something i did plan on adding which was some crushed fennel seed and then i finished up with a couple fresh items including some freshly chopped rosemary and some sliced shallots and then i went ahead and gave that a very thorough mixing and by the way of course garlic and our onions would have worked in place of the shallots or you could have used all three all right that kind of stuffs up to you I mean you are after all the chairman of the board for your pork stuffed cord and this really is just a techniques video so feel free to season this any way you want and then once that's all mixed up I guess we could move to the Browning stage but I actually decided to cover mine in parchment paper and pop it in the fridge overnight which will give our seasonings more time to penetrate that meat a little more deeply so I went ahead and covered that and pop it in the fridge overnight at which point we'll pull that out and then before we brown it I'm gonna sprinkle over a couple tablespoons of flour and besides helping the mead develop a beautiful crust as we brown this I also thought that starch would help thicken up our cooking liquids which we would then use for a sauce later and yes I probably should have broken up that lump of me first and then sprinkle that over but that's fine well just take the tongs and give it a mix until each piece is sort of semi evenly coated and then once my pork chunks were floured I went ahead and browned up this meat over medium-high heat and a little bit of olive oil all right you don't need too much because remember fats gonna render out as you cook these and I Brown that very thoroughly on both sides and I should mention I did that in two batches so as not to crowd the pan and then besides browning up all our meat the only other thing we're gonna have to prep is our pumpkin and we'll do that by first cutting off the top and to do that we will plunge our knife in very carefully at a 45 degree angle two or three inches away from the stem and we're gonna go very slowly just cutting around about an inch at a time and the reason we want to go in at a 45 degree angle is because have you cut straight down that top is just gonna fall straight down through oh and I should mention this is not a regular ornamental pumpkin that you make your jack-o'-lanterns out of okay these kinda commonly refer to as pie pumpkins since they have more and sweeter flesh but anyway we'll cut like that all the way around and we'll remove what's basically gonna be our lid and of course we're gonna trim off the seeds and any of that sticky orange hair or whatever those fibers are called and of course we're also gonna have to scrape out the inside nice and clean using a large spoon or regular spoon or when I really use between shots which was an ice cream scooper and that did take a few minutes and was by far the hardest and most annoying part of the whole operation but eventually I got that nicely scooped out and when done it should look a little something like this and then what we'll do once our pumpkin is sand seeds is place that into some kind of baking dish or pan and as you can see I did put a little piece of parchment paper in there although to be honest with you I'm not exactly sure why but anyway once I had my pumpkin pad I proceeded to fill that with my brown meat and I was not sure it was all gonna fit as I just guessed at the amounts but his luck would have it it actually all fit in perfectly including any of those shallots and scraps from the pan as well as of course any accumulated juices if you throw those away we can't be friends and then after that I finished up by pouring in my braising liquid which was a couple cups of hard cider or as my European friends call it cider because apparently it always has alcohol in it over there as so many things do so I poured in a couple cups of that and then pressed on the top which did not quite fit but close enough and I figured is this roasted and the meat shrunk up a little that lid would settle down and then once I had that all situated to my liking I went ahead and transfer that into a 350 degree oven for almost four hours or until it looked like one of the greatest things I've ever seen come out of an oven I mean come on check that out and yes of course is that was roasting I was checking it with this gear which I'm just pretending to do here but do not under any circumstances stop cooking this until when you test it with a skewer a knife or fork that meat is very very tender and then what I did was decided to let this rest a little bit and while was sitting I decided to paint the outside with the rendered fat because even though we don't think somebody could look any better we always want to check so I brushed some of that hot melted pork fat all over and believe it or not it became even more gorgeous and then I didn't film it but I did spoon off the rest of the fat and reserved any of the juices in the bottom so I could mix that with the juices inside the pumpkin to use that as a sauce later and then just because I thought it would look nice for the pictures I surrounded that with some Brussels sprouts I'd sauteed in butter and once that was said I went ahead and took a few pictures like a hundred or so and it took a while but eventually I got tired of looking at it and I pulled off the lid so I could serve some up and see how it tasted so I pulled out some pork which smelled absolutely amazing and I also cut out a serving of the pumpkin which if you've never had before actually tastes a lot like butternut squash and I went ahead and plated some up with some nice buttery mashed potatoes and then I finished it off by spooning over some of the cooking liquids after skimming off some of the fat and I will admit it was not the most beautiful sauce because it had a bunch of particles from the cook pumpkin this sort of made it look a little grainy which is why I decided to finish this by distracting everybody with a nice sprinkling of freshly chopped to tell you parsley and I will give you more info about the sauce in the blog post but anyway I finished up with some parsley and that's it my pig in a pumpkin was ready to try and as far as the cooking method goes I thought this was very very successful and although was very subtle the pork did pick up a little touch of sweetness and on the other hand the pumpkin really picked up a ton of that pork flavor mostly thanks to all those sausage like seasonings and by the way if we have any kids watching don't eat things off the tip of a knife unless you're playing pirate then it's okay so to summarize the pork was amazing the pumpkin was amazing the sauce was pretty amazing although like I said I'm gonna give you a little advice about that in the blog post I probably could have poured in a little more cider so I would have had a little more but anyway all in all an amazingly successful experiment and visually just a total seasonally appropriate showstopper in fact I thought this looks so incredible that even if you're not gonna use this technique to braised pork I think this is probably how you should cook your stuffing for Thanksgiving I mean not that grandma's casserole dish is not impressive but imagine walking to the table with this or if you don't get some oohs and ahhs with this you might need to be thinking about a different guest list but anyway whether you're gonna use part of a pig or some other savory stuffable substitute I really do hope you give this a try soon so head over to food which is calm for all the ingredient amounts of more info as usual and as always enjoy you you

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