For several years, I have had a tradition of making dinner in a pumpkin at least once each autumn. This year, I was given this medium-sized sugar pumpkin by a family friend, and this weekend finally got around to using it. Sometimes when I get an extra day off, I spend a lot of it preparing a nice meal, and this past Friday was one of those days. I made a vegetarian recipe of “Chili Stew,” along with the Rebar Cookbook’s cornbread with maple pecan butter (yum!), roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin beer. The following day I made caramel sauce to dip our orchard-fresh apples in…no pictures but it was a big hit. About halfway through my fun cooking day, I remembered to invite a family over to enjoy it with us! It’s a great way to make a memorable fall dinner.
Here is the recipe I used:
- Sugar pumpkin (or butternut squash) – about 2 cups
- 2 medium onions, cut into pieces (I used leeks)
- 2 cups of celery, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- tomato sauce (I used about 1/2 a jar of spaghetti sauce)
- 1 can of kidney beans (rinsed of course)
- 1 package of vegetarian ground round
- 1 zucchini, cubed
- 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
- salt & pepper, hot sauce, lime juice to taste.
Nancy’s loosey goosey Instructions:
1. Clean and scrape seeds out of pumpkin. Place in an inch of water in a pan, cover with foil, and bake until finished (can take a long time depending on size – this one took about 90 minutes at 400). Or, cube squash and saute in a pan for 5-10 minutes.
2. Saute onions, celery, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic for about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except salt/pepper/lime juice/hot sauce. Simmer uncovered for about 15-60 minutes, until ingredients are tender.
3. If you baked a pumpkin, scrape out the edible flesh and chop, add to stew. Try not to pierce the pumpkin shell so you can use it as a serving bowl.
4. Roast pumpkin seeds to taste (spray with cooking spray or toss in butter/oil, season to taste, roast at 300-ish for about an hour, turning occasionally)
5. Make some cornbread and maple pecan butter (basically maple syrup, melted butter, cinnamon and chopped roasted pecans)…yum!