Less than three hours later, the squash is done, its walls holding firm.
“The flavors meld nicely yet retain their individual qualities,” she says. “That’s what I like about it. I rarely have leftovers.”
The aroma is complex and compelling to anyone within a few hundred feet. And presentation at the table can be downright celebratory, elevating the expectations of non-turkey eaters.
Other lessons learned: For cooking the squash, use pans that have handles. It’s best to pick up the cooked, filled squash by its middle rather than its elongated ends, which might bruise or break off. If those ends look like they’re browning too much, Jorgenson covers them with aluminum foil. She creates a platform of wooden chopsticks in the bottom of a wide basket or serving bowl to rest the squash on, which provides a stable base and keeps the bottom of the vegetable from collapsing or steaming.
Jorgenson has other uses for freshly hollowed squashes. The specimens she uses to feed 50 guests for Thanksgiving (five turkeys; she is undaunted) lie in wait on her dining room table. A classic-looking pumpkin will be emptied out, then filled with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for next-day breakfast. “They, too, will stay warm and moist for more than a hour,” Jorgenson says.
A rounded Hubbard will become a tureen for a rich Portuguese soup. All those turkey bones will go into the making of its broth; she tosses in lots of garlic, turnips, potatoes and chicken.
Once guests arrive, she plunges in a great handful of mint and a huge splosh of lemon juice.
“It’s lovely,” she says.
Recipe: Stuffed Thanksgiving Squash
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