The Great Pumpkin Experiment: Savory Pumpkin Recipes
Sometimes I open my produce delivery and all I can think is “What the heck am I going to do with that?” This happened recently when I received not one, but two deliveries in a row that included pumpkins. Then my friend Jenna convinced me to take the pumpkin from her delivery, so suddenly I had three pumpkins to prepare. Oh, boy.
Previously, I had only cooked with canned pumpkin to make desserts. Despite my aversion to baking, I make a mean pumpkin pie and a pretty delicious pumpkin cheesecake. For this experiment, I wanted to play with the savory side of the pumpkin. Several friends recommended recipes and I hit the kitchen.
Pumpkin has a texture close to acorn squash, but a flavor that more like a butternut squash. The small, dense pie pumpkins have a sweeter meat, while the larger pumpkins can have a stringier texture and a less rich flavor. The hardest part of cooking with the pumpkin is the peeling and seeding; you’ll want a large sharp knife on hand to help you get through the task quickly.
I was surprised how much meat one pumpkin yielded. The first dish I tried was this delicious Borani Kadoo from SF Gate and I could only fit 2/3 of my pumpkin in the tagine. I took this Afghani dish to a potluck dinner and the guests scraped the bowl clean.
I roasted the other third of that pumpkin for lunch a few days later, drizzling it with olive oil, salt and rosemary and cooking for about 30 minutes at 450 degrees. It made for a perfect midday meal when paired with a side sald.
My third experiment was this pasta recipe my friend Stephanie sent me from Martha Stewart. The recipe lists only “goat cheese” and I bought chevre instead of feta. The flavor was still good, but the chevre and pumpkin combined to get a bit mushy. I’ll try it again soon with feta.
The side benefit to all of this pumpkin experimentation is having roasted pumpkin seeds for snacks and salad toppers. Rinse the pulp off of the seeds and spread them on a baking sheet to dry. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt (I also like to add cumin). Roast at 400 until they are nice and toasty, stirring a few times to keep them from burning. They are one of my favorite snacks.
I still have a pumpkin to experiment with and several recipes to try. My friend Lisa recently made this incredible looking Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce and I want to get another pie pumpkin to make the Homesick Texan’s stuffed pumpkin recipe. After all, who doesn’t want a pumpkin stuffed with bacon, cheese and chipotle chiles? I’ll probably play with thispumpkin curry recipe, too. That’ll give me a chance to try some of the curry powders I bought recently and dispatch of that last pumpkin taking up valuable counter space.
Do you have a favorite savory pumpkin recipe? Why not experiment a little and use that pumpkin for more than dessert or table decoration?