Rick's Recipes: It’s the Great Pumpkin (Invasion), Charlie Brown

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It won’t be long until we start seeing ads for pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice shakes, pumpkin spice smoothies and all kinds of other menu items. If I wanted my coffee to taste like pumpkin, I’d drink it out of a gourd!

On top of that, most of these items don’t even have pumpkin in them, just a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice that is traditionally used to flavor pumpkin pie. You know what tastes good when it’s pumpkin flavored? Pumpkin!

So now that I’m done with my old man rant (Get off of my lawn, punk!), here are some recipes that put pumpkin back where it should be; in recipes featuring pumpkin. Note: for recipes calling for fresh, whole pumpkins, be certain to buy what are often labeled as “eating pumpkin.” Pumpkins sold for decorative use are usually bred to have relatively little flesh and tougher rinds.

 

Pumpkin-Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 large potato, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

4½ cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 can (46 oz.) pumpkin

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

1 cup heavy cream

 

Directions

In a large bowl, soak the mushrooms in enough warm chicken broth to cover, reserve remaining broth. In a large soup pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add potato and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about ten minutes. When mushrooms have rehydrated, remove from broth and set aside. Add chicken broth from mushrooms, plus reserved stock to soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until potato is tender, 10-12 minutes. Stir in pumpkin.

Use a blender to purée mixture in batches, then return to pot, or use immersion blender to puree mixture until it is smooth. Stir in nutmeg. Slice and add mushrooms, then increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for ten more minutes, or until thickened. Stir in cream and heat thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Curried Pumpkin and Peas

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp. curry powder

3 lbs. pumpkin

3 medium red potatoes, diced

1½ c. stock (vegetable or chicken)

¾ c. golden raisins

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper

fresh cilantro

 

Directions

Clean and peel pumpkin, cube flesh. Heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat, add onion, garlic and curry powder and cook until golden-brown, about five minutes. Add pumpkin and potatoes and cook for five minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in broth and raisins, cover, and reduce heat to medium. After 15 minutes, add peas. Replace cover and continue to cook until pumpkin and potatoes are tender, about ten minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with cilantro.

 

Baked Stuffed Pumpkin

Ingredients

8 oz. bulk sweet Italian sausage

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups, chopped fresh pumpkin

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped

½ cup white wine

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 cup cooked quinoa or wild rice

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. fresh thyme

1 tsp. fresh oregano

Salt and pepper

4 small pumpkins, cored and cleaned

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook sausage meat in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until it is almost done (about 8 minutes). Remove the sausage from the pan, increase heat to medium, and add the onion and pumpkin. Sauté in the grease from the sausage until the pumpkin begins to soften. Add the chopped apple and cooked sausage and sauté for a few minutes. Add the wine and dried cranberries, cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside. Combine the quinoa or wild rice, olive oil, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add meat mixture to the bowl and toss to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Fill the hollowed-out pumpkins with the stuffing mixture and place the pumpkins in a shallow baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, bake for 30 minutes or until a fork is able to penetrate the flesh easily. Remove the foil, and bake for ten more minutes.

  

Pumpkin Ravioli

Ingredients

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

½ mascarpone

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

½ teaspoon thyme

Salt and pepper

Red chili flakes (optional)

wonton skins

1 large egg, beaten

1 stick butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

7 large sage leaves, thinly sliced

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

 

Directions

In a small bowl, combine canned pumpkin puree, marscapone, thyme and grated cheese. Season with salt, pepper and dried chili flakes to taste.

Place 12-14 wonton skins on a flat non-stick surface. Place approximately a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wonton skin. Brush the beaten egg around the outside of the filling. Carefully place another wonton skin over the filling. Press the edges come together, removing any air pockets from the wonton. Repeat until all ravioli are assembled. Press the tines of a fork on the edges of the wonton, taking care not to puncture the pasta.

Place butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and begins to simmer, reduce heat to low, add sage leaves and continue simmering until it turns a light golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove sage strips with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Place four ravioli at a time in boiling, salted water. Cook two minutes or until they become translucent and begin to rise from the bottom of the pot. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Place ravioli in shallow bowl, top with butter sauce. Garnish with cooked sage leaves, toasted pine nuts and fresh Parmesan.

 

Tex-Mex Pumpkin and Chicken Stew

Ingredients

2 red bell peppers

2 jalapeño peppers

2 poblano peppers

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 leeks, cleaned and chopped

2 cups fresh pumpkin, cubed

1 cup fresh corn

3 Tbsp. flour

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

2 ½ cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper

Crema and queso blanco (optional)

 

Directions

Char the peppers: Using metal tongs or a fork, hold peppers over gas flames until the skins blacken. Rotate and repeat until entire pepper is charred. (Alternatively, you can grill the peppers or place them on a baking sheet in a hot oven for 15 minutes.) Seal the charred peppers in a paper bag for 10-12 minutes. Peel, stem, seed, and cut peppers into half-inch pieces. Set aside. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the leeks, pumpkin and corn, sauté for about five minutes. Add the flour, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper and cook for two minutes. Add the corn, peppers, chicken and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with a dollop of Mexican crema and crumbled queso blanco.

 

Pumpkin Pop Tarts

You can’t have a column on pumpkin and not do at least one sweet dish. This recipe goes out to Mark Hunter.

Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 large egg

Pinch of salt

½ cup sugar

2 packages pie dough

1 egg, beaten

1 cup powdered sugar

2 vanilla beans, split and scraped

3 Tbsp. milk or cream

 

Directions

In a small saucepan, heat pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, salt and spices over medium heat, until warm. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Whisk egg, salt and sugar together and add to pumpkin mixture. Stir to blend well, place in refrigerator while you prepare pie dough. Roll one package of pie dough a 9”x12” rectangle (dough should be about 1/8-inch thickness). Cut into thirds each way, creating nine rectangular pieces. Put on tray and place in refrigerator. Repeat with second piece of dough, brush one set of pie dough pieces with beaten egg. Spoon about a tablespoon of pie filling into the center of each piece of dough, spread evenly to within ½ inch of sides. Repeat for all rectangles. Top with second piece of chilled dough. Use a floured fork to crimp the sides closed. Use the tines of the fork to create vent holes in each tart. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Preheat oven to 350°. Allow pastries to rest in refrigerator for half an hour. To make glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla bean and milk or cream. Put tarts in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top, cool for at least 30 minutes. Brush glaze onto cooled pastries.


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