Holiday menu has updated Indian foods

November 24, 1991

For the holidays, Beverly Cox developed a menu based around wild ducks stuffed with wild rice and wild mushrooms.

I= Here are the recipes, taken from "Spirit of the Harvest":

Ducks stuffed with wild rice and wild mushrooms

RTC Serves six to eight.

2 Long Island ducklings (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each)

salt and ground pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons hazelnut or sunflower oil

1 1/2 cups sliced wild mushrooms (crimini, shiitake, morels or oyster mushrooms)

1 cup sliced green onions

1 cup blanched hazelnuts

1/2 teaspoon dill seed

4 cups cooked wild rice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or parsley

Rinse ducks and pat dry. If you want to use giblets in the stuffing, trim off tough outer layer from gizzards; thinly slice giblets and reserve. Season ducks inside and out with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add giblets and saute for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, onions, hazelnuts and dill seed. Saute for about 1 minute, until mushrooms and nuts are golden. Add wild rice and dill to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Allow stuffing to cool. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Stuff neck and body cavities of duck loosely.

Close neck flap with a skewer and cover exposed stuffing near the tail with aluminum foil so it will stay moist. Prick skin all over with a sharp fork so that the ducks will self-baste with their fat. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast ducks, allowing about 30 minutes per pound. Prick skin and baste ducks with drippings 2 to 3 times during roasting. Ducks are done when juices run clear with no hint of pink when thigh is pierced.

Pumpkin soup

Serves four to six.

small pumpkin (12 inches) or one 29-ounce can solid pack pumpkin

1 to 2 tablespoons peanut or sunflower oil (if using fresh pumpkin)

salt and ground pepper

1 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground dried spicebush berries or allspice

3 to 4 cups chicken or beef broth

thinly sliced green onion tops, chopped hazelnuts, roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, for garnish.

If using fresh pumpkin: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place pumpkin in a baking dish and roast until easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Allow pumpkin to cool. Slice off top and scoop out seeds.

Clean pumpkin fibers from seeds and discard fibers. Toss seeds with oil and salt to taste. Spread out on a baking sheet and return to oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp and golden. Reserve for garnish, and for snacks.

Scrape pumpkin flesh from shell and mash, or puree if a smoother texture is desired.

Place fresh or canned pumpkin in a large saucepan and season with salt, pepper, syrup, and spicebush berry or allspice to taste. Gradually stir in enough broth to give soup a thicker or thinner consistency as desired. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until hot. If desired, serve soup in small pumpkin or squash shells. Garnish with green onions, hazelnuts and hulled pumpkin seeds.

Cranberry-maple sauce

Makes 2 cups.

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup maple syrup

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon ground dried spicebush berries or allspice (optional)

In a saucepan combine cranberries, syrup and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until berries have burst and sauce has thickened. Stir in spicebush berry if desired. Cool and serve at room temperature. Sauce is best made several hours in advance so that flavors will blend.

Indian pudding

Serves six.

4 cups milk

1 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon dried ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups dried currants or raisins

ice cream (optional)

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole. In a saucepan, combine 3 cups of milk and the maple syrup over medium heat. Heat until just boiling and add butter. In a separate bowl, combine cornmeal, ginger and nutmeg. Gradually stir cornmeal mixture into hot milk. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Fold in currants.

Spoon mixture into the casserole. Pour remaining milk over pudding; do not stir. Bake pudding 2 1/2 hours, or until all of the milk has been absorbed and top is golden brown. Serve warm,

and top with ice cream, if desired.

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