Anyhoo, I promised pumpkin recipes. Now let me say that I spent a good six weeks last fall trying pumpkin recipe after pumpkin recipe hoping to have some good ones to post. And well, I didn't find many. You see, last year I was on a search for savory pumpkin pleasures, which was counterintuitive since I generally subscribe to the belief that cinnamon and pumpkin are a perfect pairing. However, there were a couple of sans cinnamon gems that are worth sharing. First, a list of those not worth sharing, annotated from last year's sticky notes. (See, sometimes I am organized!) Pumpkin biscuits with homemade pumpkin butter (which I apparently made last year on November 9th) were okay, but not very pumpkiny. The biscuits had some cayenne in them which gave them a spicy kick. As I recall, I gave some of the extras to both my mother and sister-in-law, and the consensus was that they were just alright. Exactly one month before, I made a Pumpkin and Chicken Chowder which I noted was a good soup "with hardly any pumpkin flavor (if any at all)." The Pumpkin and Cauliflower Casserole I made was deemed "gross and a total pain in the butt to make (though George liked it)." Baked Stuffed Pumpkin was "like a stuffing and a little dry." Pumpkin Seed Pesto was bitter and too lemon-y. Sorry, I am just listing these because I cut up so many pumpkins last year- a lot of work- with very mediocre results. I just want credit for it somewhere. So hey everybody, look, I made pumpkin recipes in 2009!
This first one that I'm sharing is also not very pumpkiny- I'm starting to wonder what that even means. Is pumpkin even a very distinct flavor? Or is that just cinnamon that we're thinking of? The reason I am posting it is because it is nearly identical to my alfredo sauce recipe, only it substitutes a half cup of pumpkin for a stick of butter and still tastes great. Also, it's just as quick and easy as alfredo sauce, but a little more seasonal. That's something. Both of these recipes came from Country Living magazine.
Pumpkin- Sage Cream Sauce
1c. heavy cream
1/2c. pumpkin puree
1/4c. fresh grated Parmesan
16 leaves of fresh sage, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grounded pepper
1T unsalted butter
- combine everything but butter in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Serve over pasta.
Okay, but this one is truly delicious and autumny and hearty and cozy and all around worthy of a much better review than I am giving it. It earned much praise at my birthday party last year, even months after the bash! This is a recipe I have been looking forward to making again all year. I didn't go to the trouble of the almonds, rice, and apples last year, but I think it would be worth trying- but it's fabulous without it too.
Pumpkin Soup with Wild Rice and Apples
2T slivered almonds
3T unsalted butter
1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 (1 1/2 lb.) pumpkin
1 large turnip, peeled, cut into 4 or 6 pieces and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced
2 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 to 4 c. homemade or canned low-sodium chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/3 c. wild rice
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
pinch of cayenne pepper
- roast almonds on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, shaking halfway through, at 350 degrees. transfer to a board and chop. set aside.
-heat 2T butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 10 minutes. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes more. Add pumpkin , turnip, carrots, parsnip, 3 tsp. salt, and pepper; cook, stirring until vegetables are well mixed and coated with butter.
-add 3 1/2c. stock and thyme; bring to a boil over medium heat. Return heat to medium-low and gently simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
- fill a saucepan with cold water. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and rice. Bring water to boil over high heat. Reduce heat. Summer until rice is tender, about 45 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- remove soup from heat and let cool slightly. Use an immersion blender in the pot or puree in a food processor or blender working in batches. Add stock to thin if necessary. Reheat soup over medium-low heat.
-heat remaining tablespoon of butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add apple and cook until brown and soft, about 3 minutes. Add scallions, remaining salt, and cayenne. Cook until scallions soften, about 1 minute. Add rice and reserved nuts and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
- ladle soup into bowls and garnish with apple-rice-nut mixture.