Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Great Pumpkin

As a personal chef I often receive ingredients with culinary wish lists attached. “Here make a pie with these apples.” So, recently I was handed a pumpkin. “Here I don't know what to do with this. Make something.”

My first thought was pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake or pumpkin mouse. All delicious and sweet. Most people automatically think sweet when they cook with pumpkin. Could there be something savory from this autumn gourd? So, that was my challenge. A savory not sweet pumpkin dish.

I remember making a lamb stew once with sweet potatoes, which once very good. Maybe a savory beef stew with pumpkin would work. I found a recipe that was 2/3 beef and 1/3 pumpkin. I decide to adjust the ratio to equal parts beef, pumpkin and onions. I added cinnamon, cumin, red wine and tomato paste. The stew simmered for nearly 4 hours, which was just enough time for the flavors to mellow and the beef to tenderize. Simply divine and savory. I served it up in a Cinderella pumpkin and enjoyed the pleasures of autumn.
The pumpkin itself was a little tough to work with. They rind was very hard but once I got it started I easily cut up the pumpkin into chucks and boiled them. The remaining pumpkin was pureed and will be used for something sweet. Maybe a mousse. Yes, pumpkin mousse would be a great dessert with my savory beef and pumpkin stew. I wonder what my next ingredient gift will be?

October 26 is Pumpkin Day

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