Tag Archives: pumpkin

Stew in a Pumpkin, a Delicious Experiment

pumpkin stewLast week, a co-worker brought in a great little dish of rice and ground beef in a pumpkin. I didn’t get the recipe, but it did remind me of a little experiment I tried last year: Stew in a pumpkin.

I had an extra pumpkin from the in-laws and went online looking for recipes when I ran across an Argentine Stew in a Pumpkin Shell on Cooks.com.

It was good, but a little too sweet for my taste. So when I saw a dish-in-a-pumpkin again this year, I determined to experiment a little with the recipe, knowing full well that I’d have to eat or manage to pawn off a whole pumpkin’s worth of stew if I messed it up.

That’s the down-side of food experimentation, but even when I fail, I end up learning more about how different ingredients affect what I”m cooking so that someday … someday, I’ll be able to just whip up something delicious off the top of my head.

Not quite there yet, but my experiments are getting better and better. Here’s how the stew-in-a-pumpkin came out: Last year’s stew ended up being too sweet for my taste, so I cut down on the amount of sweet potato, added a mix of white and red potatoes, and quartered the apricots. I also threw in a little savory cumin and coriander and chiles to play up on the Southern Americas flavors I wanted something from Argentina to have (which, I realize, is not a realistic expectation since Argentine cooking tends to have a lot of Italian influence and there really is no one cooking style for South American or Latin American countries). And since I happened to have a glass of Syrah in-hand (what a surprise!) I tossed in a splash of that too. Recipe and notes follow.

argentine pumpkin stew in a bowl

Argentine Stew in Pumpkin
adapted from a Cooks.com recipe

2 lb. beef stew meat, cut in 1 1/2″ cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
3 tbsp. oil
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large yellow pepper, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. dried apricots, quartered
4 red (or white) potatoes, peeled & diced
1 sweet potato, peeled & diced
2 red chiles, cut in half
2 cups beef broth
1 medium pumpkin
butter, melted
1/2 cup red wine, optional
2 cups frozen corn

Heat oil over med-high heat in pot and brown beef. Set aside briefly. Saute onion, garlic and spices until onion is translucent. Return been to pot. Add tomatoes, red pepper, pepper, salt, apricts, potatoes and broth. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Scoop seeds and membrane out of pumpkin. Brush melted butter on the inside and season with salt and pepper.

Stir wine and corn into stew and ladel it into the pumpkin shell. Place pumpkin in a shallow pan and bake at 350-degrees for 1 hour, or until pumpkin is tender. Place pumpkin in a bowl in case it has any holes. Scoop out pumpkin as you ladel it into bowls.

Serves 6-8.

It still was sweet, as it was supposed to be, but I liked that the changes I made cut down on it, and that I didn’t get unexpected globs of apricot. Quartering them, however, made them melt, so halving them next time would probably be better. Also, I used up a yellow pepper in my original, but a red would give you similar results and look a whole lot better.

Heirloom Pumpkin Pie

I couldn’t cook with a pumpkin and not try a pumpkin pie.

If I really wanted to be scientific, I would have used the recipe on the back of the Libby’s Pumpkin I found an old recipe in the Kitsap Sun archives for a pumpkin pie made with ice cream (recipe written out below):

One snag I hit with the pumpkin was that it was pretty hard raw, and I missed some of the stringy pulp. I scooped it out a little after it was baked, but I still found strings when I mashed it. To try and fix it (and maybe this shows what a novice I am), I smooshed it through a sieve.

The recipe called for solid-pack pumpkin, so do reduce the moisture of pure mashed pumpkin, I lined the sieve with cheesecloth and let the mashed pulp sit for about an hour so extra water drained out.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

3 large eggs

1 3/4 cups (15-ounce can) solid pack pumpkin

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 pints (3 cups) vanilla ice cream

2 unbaked 9-inch frozen pie shells (not deep dish)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Remove ice cream from freezer and place near warm oven to soften.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs slightly.

Stir in pumpkin. Stir in sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice. If ice cream is still hard, place ice cream in microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on high setting.

Add ice cream to pumpkin mixture and stir until ice cream is fully melted and batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pie shells.

Bake pies at 425 F for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Cool on wire racks for 2 hours and chill before serving.

Pumpkin Pie

I had to cook the pie an 20 additional minutes so it wasn’t too mushy. The resulting pie was silky and creamy, and the Galeaux D’Eysine lended a subtle pumkin flavor, not at all squashy-tasting.

It gave me confidence to go try out some new recipes before Thanksgiving. Please send me any recipe suggestions you have, and I’ll compile them for another pumpkin pie-flavored post before the holiday.


Who Knew Squash Could Taste Like That?

Galeux D\'eysines squash My in-laws love growing their own food. They have barrels for green beans. Their property is dotted with apple, pear and plum trees.

And then there’s the squash patch.

Fertilized with a healthy heap of horse manure, their dozen little starts of summer squash, heirloom pumpkins and other winter squash turned into this mass of vines and gourds that left them way more than they, or my husband and I, or their friends, and our friends could eat It offered a wonderful opportunity to experiment in the kitchen without feeling like I wasted the plant.

One of the gems from the garden was a French heirloom pumpkin called a Galeux D’eysines Squash that she grew from mail-order seeds .

Galeux D\'eysines squash It’s as big as a six-month-old baby with salmon-colored skin and a mass of sugar warts all over it. The flesh is a bright, happy orange and hard as a rock. It took a little patience to work with, but it was perhaps the tastiest pumpkin I’ve ever had.

I gave half away, half-baked a quarter at 350-degrees just enough to make it easier to chop up, and baked the other quarter until it was soft enough to mash.

I sauteed some chopped-up pieces and covered it with sage crisped in browned butter over the top (it was a little softer than I had liked). I also mashed it with some cooked minced garlic and milk, salt and pepper.

And, of course, there were desserts. Next post: Pumpkin pie.

I couldn’t track down any place in Kitsap that sold them, so you might have to wait until next year until you can grow them yourself.

However, Nikki from Pheasant Fields Farm in Silverdale said that although they don’t have the Galeax D’eysines (it was the first she’d heard of it), she suggested another one: "My most favorite pumpkin for cooking purposes is the Long Island Cheese pumpkin. When prepared for pies, it has a wonderful creamy texture
about it that makes a really great pumpkin pie." Ann Vogel wrote about it about a year ago.

She also passed on a winter-squash glossary that has tips on how to work with and cook winter squashes on culinate.com . If I don’t squash myself out, I’m going to have to try some of those recipes.