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Fresh Pumpkin Recipes?

I just bought a little sugar pumpkin at the farmers' market and I have no idea what to do with it -- have never dealt with one. My only experience with fresh pumpkin was eating a friend's very stringy pie many years ago. I hope to avoid the stringy thing. Should I run the pulp through a food mill? I'd really like to make something other than pie, and not flavored with cinnamon.

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    1. The stringy pie was probably a result of using the wrong kind of pumpkin. Sugar pumpkins are bred and raised for cooking, so you shouldn't have a problem with strings. There are various ways of cooking the pumpkin into a puree, but generally you have to cut it into chunks, scoop out the seeds (which you can rinse and bake until they are crisp for a snack, or throw them on your compost pile for a million new little pumpkin plants), cut off the rind, and then either bake, microwave or cover with water and boil until they are soft, after which you mash or puree in a food processor.

      I once tried to cook a Halloween pumpkin. After all the labor intensive process of chopping, scraping, removing rind, etc. I baked the chunks for about an hour and they were still rock hard. Then I microwaved -- no better. Then I boiled. Eventually they were soft enough to pierce, but very stringy, so I laboriously mashed them through a strainer. At the end I had about 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree from this giant pumpkin.

      You can use the puree in many ways -- pie, muffins, sweet bread, soup, etc. I used to make a pureed pumpkin soup with chicken broth, onion, a bit of cinnamon and cloves, and finished with cream.

      Sarah C

      1. Make a coconut custard (coconut milk, eggs, and sugar), cut the sugar pumpkin (also works great with kabocha) in half, pour the still-liquid custard into the pumpkin halves, and bake at 350 until the custard is juuuuuust about set and you can pierce the flesh of the pumpkin with a skewer -- half an hour or so?

        Then allow to cool, chill, and cut each half in half so you get a thick wedge of pumpkin with a centre of pudding.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          This sounds excellent. It would be an unusual finale to a dinner party. What about the rest of the menu? Any recommendations?

        2. It is still a bit warm for it, but pumpkini ravioli is good.

          1. my ma used to make diced potatoes and also diced pumpkin (boiled) in the same pot and serve them together for a colorful veggie - u have to do the potatoes about 5 min be4 adding the pumpkin. We all looked forward to the unusual combination.

            1. Peeled cubed pumpkin sauteed or roasted with onions and garlic and the herbs or seasonings of your choice is great with pasta or bulgur or polenta.

              I make a version of mujaredeen(?), the bulgur/lentil/caramelized onion middle eastern classic, with roasted pumpkin stirred in at the end. It makes a nice vegetarian entree with some grilled haloumi cheese and a simple salad.

              Roasted with curry powder, and served with romaine and feta and cucumbers and onions with a lemon olive oil dressing is very good.

              Sauteed with five spice powder and served with sticky rice.

              I used to make deconstructed pumpkin ravioli, serving orichette with roasted/sauteed pumkin cubes, brownes onions, ricotta cheese, parmesan, and fesh sage.

              Butternut squash works almost as well.

              2 Replies
                1. re: Notorious EMDB

                  Don't forget about nutmeg, which is commonly used in pumpkin pie.
                  You could mash pumpkin (once it's boilled) like you would mashed
                  potatoes (my favorite comfort food!). When I do this with
                  sweet-potatoes, I add maplesyrup & lawry's seasonning salt.

                  When I mash regular potatoes, I actually whip them in a blender, add a little milk & garlic & a touch of onion powder, with of course, lawry's seasonning salt, & butter.
                  (All this is added to taste.)

                  I suppose you could mash pumpkin, & add the same things.
                  (Don't forget maple syrup as I mentioned above!)
                  My family really seems to like my mashed potato recipe.
                  (I also leave the skins on red potatoes.)

                2. A local restaurant seves a yummy dish that I've successfully re-created at home -- chicken pumpkin lasagna. It is layers of lasagna noodles with a white sauce (like alfredo), with slices of cooked chicken and pumpkin in-between, jazzed up however you like (I think I probably added onion, garlic, etc.), with cheese if you like it (mozzarella or parmesan, maybe?). Enjoy!

                  1. did you do a search first?
                    this was posted just a few days ago....sounds delicious


                    1. pumpkin soup is awesome and easy. bake or boil the pumpkin, then put it through a food mill. in a pot, cook some diced onions in butter or olive oil until translucent. add 2 cups of stock (i usually use chicken stock), let simmer for a bit. add the mushed-up pumpkin, some curry powder, some cream or coconut milk, and a bit of salt. also, if it seems too thick, add more stock. let it simmer. serve with some fresh coriander leaves on top. the proportions of all the ingredients are largely to taste -- play around until it seems right.

                      1. I plan to try all of these recipes this pumpkin season -- they sound so good and varied. Thank you for the wonderful suggestions.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pikawicca

                          This is a variation on John Thorne's pumpkin tian:

                          Peel, seed and cube pumpkin (or butternut squash) toss in a bag with some flour (or semolina which gives it a lovely crunch) to coat. Tip into a gratin or quiche dish. Grate some nutmeg over it, add fresh thyme, salt and pepper to taste; drizzle with olive oil, grate parmesan on top and put in a 400 oven till golden and molten.

                        2. Pumpkin and carrot soup is terrific hot or cold
                          Pumpkin shakes are great with frozen yogurt or soy milk
                          Pumpkin folded into mashed potatoes excellent

                          1. I happen to like pumpkin (or any winter squash) put together w/carmelized onions (REALLY carmelized, nice & brown) and either an extra sharp cheddar or goat cheese. I think it's a nice mix of smooth/sweet and tangy/sharp. I'll toss these ingredients together w/pasta.

                            1. I may have posted this recipe before, but it's so good, I thought I'd draw your attention to it. Also note that it's vegan.

                              From Mary Laird Hamady's "Lebanese Mountain Cookery" -- a really good little cookbook, with lots of interesting Lebanese-American variations on the traditional dishes. P.S. The pan-fried pumpkin is pretty amazing on its own. Definitely more indulgent even than roasted pumpkin.

                              PUMPKIN WITH TAHINI, CHICKPEAS, AND ONION

                              1 can chickpeas
                              2 - 3 lbs pumpkin or butternut squash
                              veg or olive oil for frying

                              2 Tbs olive oil
                              1 1/2 c onion, chopped or slivered (I used 1 onion)

                              1 - 1 1/2 c water

                              2/3 c tahini
                              1 cup water
                              1 Tbs salt
                              1 c fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

                              1. Cut pumpkin or squash into 1 by 2-inch chunks. In a deep skillet, heat 1 inch veg or olive oil. Brown pumpkin chunks a few at a time until medium-dark brown on all sides. Drain on a rack or paper. When pumpkin is finished, pour off oil and add 2 Tbs olive oil to skillet.

                              2. Fry onions until brown around the edges and golden all over. Add chick peas to onion and fry slowly 5-10 min longer.

                              3. Put tahini in mixing bowl and slowly stir in 1 c water. Then beat in salt and lemon juice or vinegar.

                              4. Place browned pumpkin over chickpeas, heat for a minute or so and then add tahini sauce. Simmer until it thickens and pumpkin is completely tender, about 10 min.

                              5. Serve at room temperature with Arabic bread. Sauce will be quite thick when it has cooled.