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Smashing Pumpkin…

Sometimes, as a food blogger, you just have to suck it up and take a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach. Today, that approach has me bringing you some pumpkin recipes.  I know….I know….but you always hurt the ones you love, right?  I mean, who am I to buck tradition?  Who am I to bring the reader what he or she really wants?

I promise not to send you any invites to play Candy Crush Saga though…..

And if I am going to torture you with more pumpkin recipes, I might as well enrich your mind while I’m at it…

“Pumpkins” are just some of the squashes in a long list of winter squashes that are native to North America.  Pumpkin is packed with nutrients such as beta carotene, and are a good source for inexpensive, high fiber nutrition.  Additionally, they are a popular choice among vegetarians, as they make a hearty meal, even without the meat.  I’m not saying I could give up the meat for them…but I’m just sayin’.

The most common is the Cucurbita pepo—the round, smooth-skinned variety with yellow flesh that is most commonly carved as a jack-o-lantern on Halloween.  As pumpkins go, it’s also very inexpensive.  But my favorite is the Fairytale Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata).  It is a large, slightly squat pumpkin, with very thick, dark orange flesh.  The skin is a beautiful mahogany color, and they really do look like they came right out of a fairy tale.  I like them because they yield so much more meat than the others.  Naturally, they are quite a bit more expensive, but the beauty as an ornamental and the yield as a cooking pumpkin make the additional price well worth it.

fairytale pumpkin

Fairytale Pumpkin…Isn’t it vibrant and gorgeous?

In my house, pumpkin is normally just used for pie, and jack-o-lanterns.  Although some of my favorite savory dishes are pumpkin-centric (pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin ravioli), I rarely get to cook with it myself. It’s hard being the only “person of taste” in a home full of redneck boys.

Since Halloween is over, you can either choose to cook your uncut pumpkins, or you can let the neighborhood kids smash them while you sleep. So, I waited until they were all out of the house for the day—hunting season is good for that— and I had myself a whole pumpkin appreciation day.

By the way, you may substitute any cooking pumpkin, or other winter squash such as acorn or butternut in this recipe.

Pumpkin Pepper Bisque  serves 8

  • 1 medium pumpkin (4-6 pounds)
  • 3 sweet yellow peppers
  • 1 large fresh jalapeno
  • 1 fresh Fresno chili
  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup fat-free half and half
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat oven to 350*

Cut pumpkin into quarters, remove seeds and stringy bits, and arrange pumpkin cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet.  Place the yellow peppers, jalapeno, corn and Fresno peppers (all uncut), around the pieces of pumpkin.

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Roasted and ready

Bake for 90 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft all the way through.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Measure out four cups of pumpkin.  Reserve the rest for future use…Like the pumpkin pie you’ll make later today!

Place the pumpkin in a blender or food processor, and process until very smooth.  Press through a sieve to remove any sinewy bits.  Pour puree in to a stock pot.  Remove stems from peppers, and puree them in the blender.  Add to the pumpkin mixture.  Cut corn from the cob using a sharp knife, and add to the soup.  Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, and mix well.  Bring to a simmer, adjust salt to desired level, and serve.

I serve with some sliced Fresno and jalapeno peppers, and a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.

 

Warm, sweet, spicy, delicious!

Warm, sweet, spicy, delicious!

Chili Roasted Prawns in Pumpkin Ale  serves 8

Obviously, I did not make the beer or use any fresh pumpkin in this recipe…But I can only find pumpkin ale this time of year, and this recipe is worth sharing…..Sort of like Cajun BBQ Shrimp. But not.

  • 8 large prawns or super large shrimp, heads removed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bottle Pumpkin Ale

Add shrimp (shells still on) to a large bowl.  Combine the chili powder, salt and lemon pepper, and toss with the shrimp, coating well.

Heat butter and olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Arrange shrimp in an even layer in the skillet, and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until starting to form a crust on the edges.  Pour in beer, and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked and the sauce is reduced a bit.  Serve with crusty bread or croutons for dipping in the sauce.

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20 Comments on “Smashing Pumpkin…”

  1. 2013/11/02 at 9:45 pm #

    Shame on you for folding like a cheap umbrella. Still, your gourd recipes look divine. 😉

  2. 2013/11/02 at 10:09 pm #

    These recipes are unusual and enticing! Thanks for sharing!

  3. 2013/11/03 at 1:33 am #

    Ooh those shrimp look divine!

  4. 2013/11/03 at 5:34 pm #

    Never been a big fan of pumpkins ..I will be a hard convert but you have some really nice ideas and I bow my head and hold my chef hat in hand and thank you for sharing your recipes.

    • 2013/11/03 at 6:45 pm #

      I’m the same way about beets…..I WANT to like them, but as of yet, not so much!

      • 2013/11/03 at 6:48 pm #

        I do however like beets…

      • 2013/11/04 at 12:29 am #

        Well, help a sister out! They always taste like dirt to me….

      • 2013/11/07 at 7:30 pm #

        What you should try and do is reduce some orange juice until it is almost dry and thick. Just reduce it. Roast your unpeeled beets on a bed of rock salt and covered with for in the oven until soft. Peel them by rubbing the beets in a towel ,the skin comes off real easy. Take your reduced job and add a little bit of honey,this is your emulsifier, and using a which slowly beat olive oil in to the ok honey mix, if you have a handheld immersion blender it works best and easiest. The mixture should be well a over room temp when you make it. Adjust seasoning with salt pepper and orange zest. Best to have zested the oranges before squeezing the juice out of them!. Cut your beets in bite sizes toss with your orange dressing and top off with some goat cheese…..you will not have any better beets than that..good luck!

      • 2013/11/08 at 3:09 pm #

        That sounds good….In theory. But I really DO want to like them, so I will give it the old college try!!

      • 2013/11/08 at 3:15 pm #

        No retreat no surrender!

  5. 2013/11/03 at 8:07 pm #

    Delicious! Can’t wait to try the prawns recipe with pumpkin ale…

  6. 2013/11/04 at 6:46 am #

    Sounds delicious!

  7. 2013/11/04 at 7:41 am #

    yummm. I’ve got a little pumpking sitting right here…

  8. Anonymous
    2013/11/05 at 3:48 pm #

    I need the shrimp immediately.

  9. 2013/11/07 at 12:30 pm #

    I refuse to give in a cook a pumpkin recipe just because its Fall and everybody else is doing it. Will never, ever happen. Well…maybe someday, but I doubt it. Your shrimp recipe does look good, though. What kind of pumpkin ale did you use?

  10. 2013/11/10 at 4:37 pm #

    Your bisque looks beautiful, though I admittedly hate anything pumpkin. It’s one of the very few foods I truly dislike. This time of year always kills me. If you’re going to be a trend whore though, this is definitely the trend to jump on. 🙂

  11. 2013/11/14 at 5:54 am #

    Wow! What a great recipe! Sounds and looks awesome! 🙂

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