Winery of the Year Plus Harvest Stew Baked In A Sugar Pumpkin

Looking for a Thanksgiving recipe that celebrates fall but doesn't involve turkey? How about chunks of slow cooked pork stewed with yams, spices, vegetables and peaches? This recipe always gets rave reviews and looks festive presented in its golden brown pumpkin. Last Saturday's menu: I served sauteed mushrooms as appetizers, along with spanokopita and black olive tapenade, paired with the 2006 Forgeron Chardonnay. Entree was the pork stew below, garden greens salad, herb onion bread with two cheeses: creamy Bucherondin and Delice de Bourgogne. We were drinking lightly, so sipped our Forgeron with dinner and never got around to the red wine. The stew would pair well with the 2006 Merryvale Merlot.
spray olive oil
3 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 medium skinned, chopped tomatoes (or one 14 oz. can)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium yams, peeled and chopped small (about 2 cups)
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1 can corn kernels (about 1 cup)
2 peaches, peeled and chopped
1/4 bunch of parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 lime
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1 big Sugar or Cinderella pumpkin (about 10 lb. or two 6 lb. if large is not available)
3 Tbsp. melted butter
Spray Dutch oven with oil and put over medium high heat. Brown the roast all over then turn the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Cook, turning the roast over, for a couple more minutes, then cover the meat with water, add the bay leaves, put the lid on and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is falling apart. You may need to turn the heat down--the water should be simmering but not at a boil. Remove the meat to a plate to cool and carefully strain the broth, returning the strained broth to the Dutch oven. Simmer the broth with the tomatoes, pepper, potato and yams until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the corn, peaches, parsley, cilantro, oregano, cumin, lime and sherry. Remove the fat from the pork and break the meat into chunks into the stew. Stir and taste--add salt and pepper if desired, but you may like the flavor without them. In the meantime, cut the top off the pumpkin at an horizontal angle so the top will make a lid (and not fall into the stew). Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin and brush inside with the melted butter. Spoon the stew into the pumpkin, top with the pumpkin "lid" and bake in 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the pumpkin is soft but not falling apart. Serve the stew with scoops of the inside of the pumpkin. Serves 8.
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter
1 pkg. active yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
1 tsp. dill
1 tsp. rosemary, minced or ground
Scald milk, add sugar, salt and butter. Dissolve yeast in water and mix into the milk mixture. Add the flour, onion, dill and rosemary and mix well. The dough should be very thick but just stirrable with a wooden spoon; add a 1/8 water if all the flour can't be mixed in. Cover bowl with a wet towel and let rise 45 minutes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a bread pan with oil. Spoon the dough into the bread pan, cover with the wet towel and let rise about 20 minutes or until dough is just below the top of the pan (it will rise above the pan during baking). Bake 1 hour.

This week's Online Grapevine special is three highly-rated wines from Napa's Merryvale Winery, voted "Winery of the Year" by Quarterly Review of Wines. They are in the forefront of sustainable viniculture and have received many accolades.

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