Recipes: Savory Pumpkin

While pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin lattes are often tempting our taste buds this time of year, Chicago-based Trader Todd’s explores the more savory side of this tasty gourd with these three easy recipes (perfect for you weekend Halloween entertaining plans).

Pumpkin Coconut Soup
3 cups coconut water
1/2 cup coconut meat
1 Tablespoon cream of coconut
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (canned or freshly cooked and processed)
1 Tablespoon dry jerk seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup soy or almond milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all soup ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Blend until the soup has a silky consistent texture. Heat and serve with a piece of spicy pumpkin cornbread. Garnish with a sprinkle of shredded coconut.

Spicy Pumpkin Cornbread
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry jerk seasoning
1 cup cornmeal
2 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (canned or freshly cooked and processed)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon molasses

Sift flours, baking powder, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in cornmeal. In separate bowl, beat eggs lightly. Whisk in pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and molasses. Combine the two by pouring the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Pour batter into a 9-inch square greased baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 400⁰, or until cornbread is browned and surface springs back to touch.

Savory Pumpkin Cheese Dip
4 T butter
1 T minced garlic
One Spanish onion finely diced
2 tsp Thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
Pinch of kosher salt
A few twists of fresh ground pepper
Juice of one orange
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pumpkin puree*

*Unless you decide to take a shortcut and use canned unsweetened pumpkin, you’ll start this dip by roasting some pumpkin. Cut a small pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and remove the stringy fibers in the hollow. Place the two halves in a roasting pan skin side up and fill pan with a cup of water. Put the pumpkin into an over preheated to 350º for about 90 minutes. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to work with scoop the meat out of each half and discard the skin. Puree the pumpkin meat in a food processor (or blender). This should yield about 3 – 4 cups of pumpkin puree. You’ll have enough for this pumpkin recipe and a few more. It’ll keep for 4 days, refrigerated.

In a large sauté pan heat 3 tablespoons of butter once the butter has melted and begins to bubble add the onion and garlic, stir and add salt, once onion becomes translucent add thyme, allspice, and fresh ground pepper. This will soak up the butter, keep stirring then deglaze the pan using about half of the orange juice. Be sure to get all the little bits off the bottom of the pan and reduce the heat. On a low temperature add in the pumpkin. Then slowly add the shredded cheeses (reserving just a pinch of each) while constantly stirring add in the rest of the butter and orange juice to keep the mixture from thickening too much. Once the cheeses have thoroughly melted and blended with the pumpkin, transfer to a ceramic baking dish and finish dip by sprinkling remaining cheese on top and melting it in a 350º oven. For parties triple this recipe and “stuff” a hollowed out small pumpkin with the dip. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

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