From Currant-Pumpkin-Oat Scones to Chicken-Pumpkin Tacos, Pumpkin-Filled Ravioli with Fried Sage, Ginger-Pumpkin Ice Cream, and of course (seven!) pies, this comprehensive cookbook reminds us that the iconic symbol of fall is so much more than jack-o’-lantern material. These 139 recipes offer diverse and delicious options for enjoying pumpkin and other winter squash, such as butternut, acorn, and kabocha, year-round. With recipes for many forms of pumpkin, including both fresh and canned pumpkin puree, and inspired by world cuisines, the versatility of this superfood shines through in snacks, drinks, salads, soups, main dishes, and desserts.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
When I told people I was writing a pumpkin cookbook, I got one of two reactions. "Ohhhh, I LOVE pumpkin, how exciting, when is it coming out?" or "You are writing about WHAT? Pumpkin? Why would you want to do that?" This book is clearly for the first group, but the second group will find there is a lot to love about pumpkins, clearly a superfood!
Pumpkins happily grow in all climates across the United States. In fact, they grow on every continent except Antarctica. One of the many winter squashes, pumpkins have long been prized for their nutrition, adaptability, and staying power. The sturdy outer skin allows them to be stored in a cool place for months. Native to North America, pumpkins have been cultivated for about 9,000 years. For the indigenous people, pumpkin was a mainstay of their diet, and it has served as such for succeeding cultures. Pumpkin offers protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, and huge amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. It is high in fiber and low in calories. For sustenance, pumpkin is hard to beat.
Since pumpkin has been around for so long, and since it is found in cuisines across the globe, it is not surprising that pumpkin shows up in appetizers, soups, breads, desserts, salads, and savories of all kinds. It offers much more than the annual slice of pie at Thanksgiving, and I have by no means exhausted all the possibilities in this book. The mild, slightly sweet flavor lends itself to numerous ingredients. I had a great time adding pumpkin to my old favorite recipes, thinking up new combinations, and adapting ideas from other cultures. While in some cases the pumpkin flavor is almost too subtle to detect when used with strong, savory ingredients, it always adds texture, color, and nutrition. In other cases, the sweetness of pumpkin is the featured flavor, deepened by the addition of sugars and spices and leaving no doubt of its presence. A number of my recipe testers reported that they could not "taste" the pumpkin. True sometimes, but not a problem, because the lovely color is always there, as is the nutrition and the smooth texture.
TYPES OF PUMPKINS
Pumpkins are members of the gourd family, technically Cucurbitaceae, affectionately known as cucurbits. The vines of this great family include hundreds of species, from cucumbers to melons to squash. Thin-skinned summer squash do not include pumpkin, which belongs in the category of thick-skinned winter squash. In some countries, pumpkin is a term used for all hard-skinned squash. Of the many types of winter squash, the most well-known and readily available are pumpkin, butternut, acorn, hubbard, and buttercup. However, finding fresh pumpkin in markets during spring and summer is a bit of a challenge.
Pumpkin has a number of varieties, all of which are edible, but some are superior to others. The large ones that we carve into jack-o'- lanterns tend to be dry and stringy. Giant pumpkins, which may weigh over 1,000 pounds, follow suit. The original Halloween pumpkin is the Connecticut Field variety, which also makes a good pie. For the best eating, however, choose a denser, sweeter variety such as sugar or pie pumpkin; the pale-skinned Long Island Cheese pumpkin; a delicious Japanese pumpkin known as kabocha; bright orange French Red or Cinderella pumpkin; dusky peachy Sonia pumpkin; or blue-skinned Australian Queensland pumpkin. Don't forget the wonderful delicata with its edible skin. The names may change with the location, but taken together they form a subtly colored palatye of the fall harvest that can be roasted, steamed, boiled, microwaved, grated, stuffed and served up in more ways than you can imagine.
There are cute little guys also, which are fun for decorating or using as little serving dishes when lightly roasted. Perfectly round baseball pumpkins, ribbed munchkins, Baby Bear, Jack Be Little, or Baby Bo can mark places, fill a bowl, or decorate the hall table.
STORING, PREPARING, AND COOKING FRESH PUMPKINS
Many think of pumpkin as existing solely in dessert, especially in pie. In fact, pumpkin is a wonderful vegetable by itself in addition to being an adaptable ingredient in all kinds of savory dishes. Its mild flavor and soft texture when served with salt, pepper, and a dab of butter provide a wonderful background to more highly seasoned poultry, meat, and fish.
Fresh pumpkins are abundant in the fall but practically nonexistent in the market during winter, spring, and summer months. In the United States, most pumpkins are sold in the fall, when 80 percent of the crop is snatched up for jack-o'-lanterns and decorative pieces to create the harvest mood. The one exception I have found is the Japanese kabocha pumpkin, which sits alongside butternut squash throughout the year. I find sugar, cheese, and kabocha pumpkins the most satisfactory to use. If these are not available — it can be hard to get your hands on a fresh pumpkin once the supply of fall pumpkins is gone — butternut squash is an excellent substitute, with its smooth, creamy texture. It is reliably available in grocery stores everywhere throughout the year. The scarcity of fresh pumpkin after late fall or early winter is one reason to cook up entire pumpkins and store the leftovers in the freezer for late-winter dishes.
Alternatively, keep whole fresh pumpkins during winter months by storing them in a dark, cool, dry place — not a refrigerator. A basement is perfect. For those without basements, store them outside and under cover from rain and rodents.
Fresh and dried herbs as well as spices can perk up the mild flavor of pumpkins.
Recommended herbs for savory pumpkin dishes: sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley (always use fresh because dried has no flavor), oregano, and marjoram
Recommended spices for savory pumpkin dishes: ginger, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, curry powders and pastes, whole cinnamon, whole cloves, and mustard
Don't be limited by these. Add your own favorites!
Cutting and Peeling
Sugar pumpkins are the easiest to cut because of their small size. Wash the skin and, with a large knife, cut the pumpkin in half. Remove the stem. Scrape out the seeds and fibers with a large metal spoon and cook (see Cooking Pumpkin, below).
For large pumpkins, like the Long Island Cheese pumpkin, be sure to use a large, sharp chef's knife and a stable cutting board. Put a damp paper towel under the board to hold it in place. Slice a small amount from the bottom so the pumpkin won't wiggle while you cut. Start at the top and rock the knife back and forth as you cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Remove the seeds and fibers and lay the cut sides on the board. Cut into quarters at least, or into smaller pieces if called for. Cook and peel as indicated in the recipe.
If a pumpkin is very hard to cut, you might try using a cleaver. If all else fails, throw the pumpkin on a concrete surface to smash it or at least crack it open, then use your knife. This is obviously a method of last resort, but it really works, especially if you can drop the pumpkin from a few steps. You may need to resort to such drastic measures if your pumpkin is several months old because the skin becomes harder with time.
To peel an uncooked pumpkin, place the pumpkin cut-side down on a cutting board. With a sharp paring knife, cut the skin toward the bottom cut edge. Cut away from yourself. A cooked pumpkin is much easier to peel. When cool enough to handle, simply use a sharp paring knife to lift the skin from the pumpkin flesh.
For all methods, scrub the outside of the pumpkin before cooking. Except for roasting whole or miniature pumpkins, pumpkins should be cut in half and the seeds removed. Pumpkin is done when the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.
Using the Pumpkin as a Serving Bowl
Heat the oven to 350°F (177°C). To prepare a small or mini pumpkin for individual servings, wash the skin, rub lightly with oil, and bake for 30 minutes, or until it is easily pierced with a fork. When cool enough to handle, cut a circle as you would for a jack-o'-lantern, about 2 inches from the stem. Remove the top and scrape out the seeds and fibers. Fill small pumpkins with salads, soups, risottos, puddings, or whatever you fancy. They make nice individual serving bowls.
To prepare a large pumpkin for use as a serving bowl for soups and stews, choose a creamy Long Island Cheese, a blue-skinned Queensland, or a bright orange Cinderella. Heat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Wash the pumpkin, cut off the top with a large knife, and scoop out the seeds and fibers with a large metal spoon. Rub the inside and outside lightly with oil and place the pumpkin and top on a jelly- roll pan. Bake the pumpkin and top for 30 minutes. Remove the top and continue baking the bottom for 15 minutes longer, or until it can be pierced with a fork but does not collapse. The pumpkin should be able to stand on its own.
Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Wash the pumpkin, cut in quarters, and remove the seeds and fibers. Rub the inside and outside with oil, and place the quarters in a roasting pan greased with oil, cut-side down. Roast some sprigs of fresh herb, such as rosemary, sage, or thyme, with the pumpkin. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork and lightly caramelized. Allow it to cool slightly before removing the skin. After peeling and mashing it, serve it as a side dish with salt, pepper, and butter. Add additional flavor by rubbing the cut sides with butter and maple syrup, or putting a little apple cider in the roasting pan.
Measure what you need and store the remainder for another recipe.
This is the quickest and simplest method for preparing small amounts of cooked pumpkin. Wash the pumpkin, remove the seeds and fibers, then cut the pumpkin into pieces that will fit in a microwave-safe covered dish. Add a tablespoon of water and cook on high for 5 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork, up to 4 minutes longer. Let stand, covered, until cool enough to handle, then peel and proceed with your recipe.
Wash the pumpkin, remove the seeds and fibers, then cut the pumpkin into pieces. Place the pieces in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 20 to 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Cool, remove the skin, and proceed with your recipe. Alternatively, peel before steaming.
This is similar to steaming except that you will lose some of the water-soluble vitamins. Place the prepared pieces of pumpkin directly in boiling salted water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain, cool, and peel.
Wash the pumpkin, remove the seeds and fibers, and then peel. Cut the pumpkin into eighths. Using a coarse metal grater, or a food processor, grate each piece. One-half pound will yield about 2 cups of grated pumpkin. Use in salads or baked goods, or quickly sautÃ(c) as a vegetable.
Wash the pumpkin, remove the seeds and fibers, peel, and cut into 1- inch chunks. Toss with olive oil and cook on a hot grill for 5 to 10 minutes, turning so all sides get browned. Season with salt and pepper and use in salads, or with grilled meat or poultry. You can also toss the pumpkin with salad dressing or other marinades before grilling.
Puréeing One pound of fresh pumpkin will yield about 1 cup of purée. Cook the pumpkin by one of the methods. Purée the pumpkin by mashing it with a potato masher, putting it through a ricer, or pulsing it in a food processor. Flavor with salt, pepper, and butter, or with herbs or spices, and enjoy a delightful side dish.
Shelled pumpkin seeds are what I use in recipes in this book. When removing seeds from pumpkins, you will find they are covered with a tough white shell. Some will tell you to bake them, salt them, and eat them as a snack. I have never enjoyed the end result of this, even though it appeals to my frugal, "waste not, want not" side. I much prefer the green hulless ones, which are also called pepitas. When toasted, they make a delightful, crunchy, nutritious snack or a great addition to many recipes.
To make 1 cup of toasted pepitas, toss 1 cup of raw seeds with 1 teaspoon oil and a little salt. Heat a toaster oven to 300°F. Toast for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the seeds swell, become golden, and make a popping sound. Don't let them get dark, or they will turn bitter. Eat as a snack; use as a topping for salads, casseroles, or crusts for meat and fish; or mix with other seeds, nuts, cereals, or pretzels for a party mix.
An alternative method is to heat the oil in a skillet, add the seeds and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the seeds, start popping and lightly brown.
Storing Cooked Pumpkin
Cooked fresh pumpkin will keep in the refrigerator for a week. Otherwise, place it in a plastic freezer bag in small batches and freeze for up to 3 months. Use in recipes that call for cooked pumpkin.
Transfer leftover canned pumpkin to a covered container, store in the refrigerator for up to a week, and add it to your favorite recipes. It will keep in the freezer for several months.
PUMPKIN'S SUPERFOOD STATUS
Pumpkin is not only versatile and tasty, it's good for you as well. Some doctors and nutritionists have identified pumpkin as a "superfood," meaning that it is packed with rich phytonutrients that help protect the body and make for a healthier life. Steven Pratt, MD, cofounder of SuperFoods Rx, includes pumpkin on his short list of nutrient-packed foods, noting that it is particularly helpful in protecting the skin from the damages of sunlight. So, a more youthful glow may be a sidebenefit of incorporating pumpkin into your diet.
PUMPKIN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
While pumpkin festivals are numerous, the one dearest to my heart is in Half Moon Bay, California. This self-designated "Pumpkin Capital of the World" holds its Art and Pumpkin Festival on the weekend after Columbus Day. Pumpkin patches line the road for miles as one drives west toward this foggy Pumpkin Capital of the World, nestled behind high bluffs on the California coast. On weekends in October, the pumpkin patches are filled with families seeking the perfect pumpkin for their jack-o'-lantern.
The festival began in the early 1970s with some good citizens who wanted to beautify the town and celebrate its agricultural traditions. Today, the main street, lined with galleries, funky shops, and good restaurants, is indeed beautiful. At this time of year, the fog is gone and the rains haven't yet arrived in the tiny coastal town, making the weather perfect to bring more than 200,000 to the festivities and the juried crafts fair.
Sounds from a lively country band grow louder as you approach the closed-off main street, weaving through strollers, teens on cleanup crew, and happy wanderers. Soon the scent of chicken-pumpkin grilled sausages hits you. Even though it is only ten in the morning, you can't resist a bite. Next to strike the taste buds is white chocolate—pumpkin fudge, followed by a lick of pumpkin ice cream and a nibble of pumpkin cheesecake. For a break from eating, an endless parade of floats, decorated cars, witches, ghosts, and goblins of all ages marches down the main street followed at last by the prizewinning giant pumpkin, weighing in at more than 1,500 pounds. Nearby, "Farmer Mike" carves amazing likenesses of the well- known on giant pumpkins using a professional array of chisels and knives. As the day winds down, a seat under a tree, a sip of beer or wine, and some good bluegrass tunes make the perfect ending to a lively festival.
Recipes for Many Styles and Parts of Pumpkin
BAKED OR ROASTED PUMPKIN
Roasted Ginger Pumpkin-Pear Soup Southwest Chicken Pumpkin Soup Split Pea Pumpkin Soup Red Cabbage and Maple-Roasted Delicata Salad Spinach and Pumpkin Wild Mushroom Pumpkin Risotto Apple, Cranberry, and Pumpkin Stuffing Roasted Pumpkin and Barley Pilaf Pumpkin-Turkey Medley Thai Green Lamb Curry Spaghetti with Peppers, Onions, and Sausage
STEAMED OR MICROWAVED PUMPKIN
Harvest Pumpkin Soup Autumn Toasted Couscous Salad Pumpkin Purée with Almond Topping Blue Cheese and Pumpkin Galette White Bean, Chicken, and Pumpkin Chili Creamy Shrimp and Rice Braised Cabbage with Sausage and Pumpkin Southern Pecan Pumpkin Pie
Excerpted from "The Pumpkin Cookbook"
Copyright © 2017 Edith Stovel.
Excerpted by permission of Storey Publsihing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments
1 Versatile Pumpkin
2 Starters, Snacks & Beverages
3 Soups & Salads
4 Side Dishes
5 Main Courses
10 Desserts & Delicacies
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beautiful cookbook with interesting recipes. The author did a great job in describing the recipes & the instructions were easy to follow. Enjoyed this cookbook. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Fall is on its way, and with it you are already seeing pumpkin everywhere. I get a little fed up with everything being “pumpkin spice” flavor, but I do like cooking with pumpkin in the fall. I love that this book is not just focused on your classic pumpkin dishes, but includes international dishes such as Caribbean Black Bean Pumpkin Soup, Afghani Sweek Pumpkin (Kadul), Italian Pumpkin Soup with Crushed Amaretti Cookies, Armenian Lamb Stew and more. Give the Chocolate Pumpkin Cake a try! You don’t taste the pumpkin, but it makes it a little healthier option, and is so moist! I like the twist in Banana-Pumpkin-Nut Bread. This is a great cookbook for pumpkin lovers everywhere. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and am happy to recommend it. I received a copy of this book from Storey Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I am always on the lookout for great new fall recipes. After reading this book I am looking forward to our pumpkin harvest this year so I can try out as many as possible! It all sounds so good that I'm honestly not sure where to start. Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. This opinion is entirely my own.