On Tuesday, November 3rd, I issued the 30 Rock TV Dinner Challenge. The object was to come up with a dish inspired by the show, cook it by Sunday the 15th, and post your results. Sunday the 15th was yesterday, and here I am sliding in under the wire with my own entry, inspired by a Tracy Jordan line from the (aired) pilot. I looked forever and couldn't find the video clip I wanted to use, or for that matter the full episode. Unfortunately the comic value of this line, like most of his lines, depends on the delivery. While I encourage you to rent the DVD if you're really curious, here is a brief description to set the scene:
Tracy is at a restaurant with Liz and his entourage. The waiter announces that their special is pumpkin ravioli. As he walks away, Liz tries to say something business-related to Tracy. He shushes her and says, "I'm going to ask you a question and I want you all to be completely honest... Did that man just say 'pumpkin' to me?"
See? Funnier when he says it. I was rolling on the floor. Sigh. Strike one.
Here's strike two:
Yes, that is actually supposed to be a pumpkin ravioli. Note to self: Mixing wheat germ and all-purpose flour does not make whole wheat flour. It makes... whatever the hell that is.
So there I was yesterday with a bowl full of ravioli filling and not enough eggs to make more pasta dough. I racked my brain trying to think of something pumpkin-y that would be equally offensive to Tracy Jordan, and finally came up with this savory pumpkin pie.
I wouldn't call it a home run (the recipe could use a little tweaking), but at least I managed to avoid a strike three.
Savory Pumpkin Pie With Chickpeas
2 c. flour
2/3 c. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
4-5 Tbsp. cold water
*Though pie crusts are generally similar, I found this one on Cooks Recipes a couple years back.
1 pie pumpkin weighing about 3 lbs
2 shallots, chopped
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. Mexican-style crumbling cheese (I imagine feta would result in a similar texture, but the flavor would be completely different)
2 c. cooked chickpeas
Heat the oven to 450.
Mix the butter, flour, and salt in a large bowl and add 4 Tbsp. of water. Continue mixing. If the dough sticks together in a big ball, there's no need to add the last Tbsp. of water; if it still seems dry, add water slowly until the mixture reaches a dough-y consistency. Separate into two dough balls of equal size. Wrap each in plastic and store in the refrigerator.
Cut out the pumpkin's stem, grasp it firmly, and scream, "blargh!" as if you are holding a human heart.
Quarter the pumpkin... I know, I know. But look, my husband and I did it even without the proper type of knife. Instead we used two improper knives. And a lot of cursing. So you can too. Don't be a wuss.
Scrape out the yummy seeds and leave them out to dry for roasting later. Wrap the quarters in tin foil and roast them at 450 for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, saute the shallots and herbs in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add to a large bowl and set aside.
When the pumpkin is finished cooking, remove and turn oven temperature down to 375.
Scrape the pumpkin out of its skin into the bowl. Add the butter and salt. Combine using a large spoon or potato masher. Set aside to cool for about ten minutes, then incorporate the eggs and cheese crumbles.
Stir in the chickpeas.
Butter two 9" pie tins.
Roll each dough ball out flat on a well-floured surface to a diameter of 12".
To transport, fold each crust into quarters. Place these in pie tins with the points of the quartered crusts at the center. Unfold the crusts and press firmly into the tins. If needed, trim the edges using clean kitchen shears. Flute or crimp as desired.
Distribute the filling evenly between the two crusts.
Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes, or until barely browned on top.
Cool about ten minutes before slicing. Each pie serves 6 as an entree or 8-10 as an appetizer. To reheat, simply bake at 350 for ten minutes.
Thank you to all who participated in my first TV Dinner Challenge. There will be more to come. As always, I welcome your ideas for shows to use; as well as your ideas for new challenges in general. Please feel free to leave your suggestion as a comment or email email@example.com.
Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.