My work does this semi-monthly cooking contest, with a theme ingredient. The theme for our next competition (October 13th) is pumpkin. What the fuck? All the chicks are talking about pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, etc. I'm thinking of wowing them and going with a main course type of dish rather than a recipe.
Any ides from you guys? For some off reason the first thought that popped into my head was a curry-type of dish with pumpkin (I've had something similar at an Indian buffet with some type of squash). I'm open to any and all suggestions
Anything I can serve inside a mini-pumpkin (I'm all about presentation) would be great.
Spaghetti with Pumpkin Sauce.
Roast and puree the pumpkin with a new Mexico chili and a little lemon zest, toss with spaghetti rigate and some chopped toasted hazelnuts and top with a little good ricotta.
Pumpkin chowder or pureed pumpkin soup made with coconut milk in which lemongrass has steeped, served in a mini pumpkin with a few salted toasted pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin enchiladas with cotija cheese and corn truffle (huitlacoche(sp?),if you like it)
roast pork loin with spicy candied pumpkin
Slice pumpkin thinly, and cook at a very low simmer in sugar syrup with a dried chili until the pumpkin is soft. remove from syrup and set aside. Marinate pork loin in a mix of lime and orange juices(or bitter orange if you have it) and garlic. Roast hot or grill until your preferred level of doneness, and finish with a light glaze of the pumpkin syrup mixed with a little more citrus juice. Slice the loin and plate with pumpkin slices between the slices of pork, with a light vinegar-based cabbage salad.
My Sri Lankan friend taught me a great curry dish that is traditionally cooked with pumpkin but we use butternut squash. In Sri Lanka they use the whole pumpkin, skin and all so I make it with the butternut in the same way (you don't have to do this!). If you want the recipe I can post it...it is a fairly dry curry.
Here you go Biggie...
Should I call it F--- Awesome Pumpkin Curry?!
1 small pumpkin or butternut squash, chopped into bite size
2 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
2 tsp. chili powder (or to taste); her dad makes his own from ground chilis
2 oz. dessicated coconut
1 1" piece of cinnamon
a sprig of curry leaves
4 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. salt
Roast spices with coconut until fragrant and coconut is golden; grind spices.
Mix the roasted ingredients together with all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered.
Cook until tender, check to see if you need a little bit of water (I use coconut milk).
Salt to taste.
*I've also made this adding roasted cashews and a bit of cilantro.
Cook the pumpkin/squash in water or stock and puree. Make soup with most, but reserve 5 oz to mix with 5 oz ricotta, 2 Tbls. pureed chestnuts, 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan, 1 large egg, 7 Tbsp flour ( but add just enough flour). Make dumplings with a spoon or pastry bag (#5 tip)and refrigerate on waxed paper for at least one hour.
Reheat the soup, (might need thining with water)
In another pot boil salted water and drop the dumplings in a few at a time, they pop back up after 2 or 3 minutes (but taste to check) and serve with soup and ricotta salata grated on top.
I havn't made this since last year and I can't for the life of me remember what I did with the soup part. It's hard to get the right kind of soup base that is flavorful, yet not over powering with the dumplings. If anyone has suggestions I'd love to hear them.
I've made the dumplings with chestnut flour too before and they came out nice but a little bit heavier.
It's just something I "do", not a recipe, you know? Probably not the same every single time. I start by roasting a medium butternut squash in a roasting pan w/2 med or 1 large onion. Really roast em, like maybe 45 mins at 350? Let cool enough to handle then cut the squash up into chunks...alot of it will just fall apart as much and that's okay too. Cut up the onions too. Mix together w/a pound of cooked penne and 2 packages of shredded cheese (your choice....monterey jack, cheddar, I like x-sharp cheddar w/the sweetness of the squash & onions) and whatever else appeals to you....I guess you could add chicken to make it heartier.....garlic, I like seasoned salt. It's a pretty simple pot-luck dish. I put it all in a 9-13 casserole and bake for about 30 mins w/some crumbs on top.
Oh yeah, I just remembered that Cooks Illustrated featured a butternut squash risotto that looked great...easy to sub. pumpkin!
Tiffani's Whole Pumpkin Lasagna
In one of the episodes of Top Chef, Tiffani, one of the contestants, made a pumpkin dish that looked gorgeous and tasted delicious (or at least that's what Colicchio said). It was basically two small sugar pumpkin that are baked whole, stuffed with pumpkin meat and topped off with fresh pasta, Tiffani's Pumpkin Lasagna. It looks very impressive and if you skip the step about making the pasta from scratch, the recipe looks very simple.
If you do end up making this dish, please report back! I am very interested in hearing from anyone who has made this dish.
I don't have a recipe but can advise three things I've had that were pumpkin that were great:
- pumpkin soup
- pumpkin ice cream
- pumpkin ravioli (try a sage butter sauce where the sage is crisped briefly in the butter)
I think with each it's important to shy away from nutmeg and other flavorings that evoke pumpkin pie.
I love pumpkin ravioli. I've made it with wonton wrappers and then served with a cream sage sauce. It's so simple and surprisingly good.
i have your winner!
pumpkin & sweet potato lasagna ( and it has curry! )
this is very tasty:
1 TBsp olive oil
1/2 cup bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3/4 lb sweet pot, cut into dices
3/4 lb pumpkin, cut into dices
2 cup water, divided
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin ( canned )
1 tsp curry powder
2 TBsp chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup milk
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup gruyere
salt + pepper to taste
oven ready lasagna noodles
preheat oven 375
place olive oil in large pot and cook bacon, onion, sweet pot, and pumpkin. cook over low heat 4-5 min, stirring constantly
add 1 cup of water, stir, simmer for 4 more min.
mix in puree and remaining water
stir in curry and sage
add coco milk, and salt + pepper
mix regular milk w/ cornstarch and add...simmer 5 min and remove from heat
place thin layer sauce into lasagna pan ( use cooking spray ) and layer noodles with sauce, noodles with sauce, etc..
finish with sauce on top and sprinkle the gruyere
bake for 40 minutes
To your mini-pumpkin note... You can actually eat miniature pumpkins, too - there's a recipe in California Cooking for them. I just moved, so I don't have the book handy, but you cut them open, scoop out the seeds, and then put a pat of butter and EITHER a clove of garlic OR a sprig of fresh rosemary inside, put the tops back on, and put them in a baking dish with 1/4-1/2 in. of water in the bottom. Bake at ... oh... I don't remember... 400? for a long time... an hour? until soft... scoop out flesh with spoon to eat. very tasty... more of a side dish than a main course.
Try to get ones that aren't shellacked. :)
The pumpkin ravioli sounds great - reminds me of the sweet potato pirogies from the Ukrainian 24 Hour Cafe at St Marks Place - so how about pumpkin pirogies - you could do a multi-ethnic platter of pirogies, ravioli, empanadas, pot-stickers, cornish pasties and spring rolls all stuffed with pumpkin - also how about trying pumpkin gnocchi - I just thought of that so I don't quite know how to make it work.
I used jarred pumpkin jalapeno sauce, sold for beef bbq in place of canned pumpkin a la Libby's and made a savory pumpkin bread served with soft spread cream cheese. Served it "football night" to the guys and they loved it.
If you want the recipe, just holler :)
This is a recipe from "The Best American Recipes 1999". It's a little different from any I see in the above list, so I thought I'd post it. I love stratas for the appetizing way they puff up and get golden.
6 1 1/4 inch thick slices sourdough French bread
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 4.5 ounce can chopped green chilies, drained
1 2/3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 15 ounce can solid pack pumpkin
2 large eggs
Butter a 2 quart baking dish, and arrange 3 layers, each layer consists of:
2 slices bread, 1/3 of the cheese, 1/3 of the onions, 1/3 of the peppers.
Then, mix the rest of the ingredients very well (a blender or food processor is advised). Pour over the layers, cover with plastic wrap, and put in fridge overnite (at least 8 hours). Cook on middle shelf in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour, until knife comes clean.
A nice option is to sprinkle the Uncooked strata with shelled pumpkin seeds just before baking.