Crave: Celebrate autumn with these great pumpkin recipes
photo by: Christopher Hirsheimer/Mother Earth News
Fall is almost here, and even if it doesn’t yet feel like it in your neck of the woods, now is as good a time as any to start celebrating. There’s so much to love about fall–summer’s oppressive heat is finally subsiding in the wake of beautifully crisp days, made even more spectacular by the generous stroke of nature’s own paintbrush. Gold, it seems, is the official mascot of fall; sorry, Midas, your touch will no longer be required. Not only does the landscape slowly but inevitably turn a deep flaxen hue, but the harvest itself echoes this rich theme. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the illustrious pumpkin, its whimsical golden form reigning supreme over all the rest. Now is the season of the pumpkin.
In honor of our old friend (what childhood fall memory could be complete without her?), I give you the following pumpkin recipes. And not just any recipes, mind you; these are some of the best out there from the kind folks at Andrews McMeel Publishing, one of the preeminent publishers of anything food. Give them a try if you want to celebrate the season in a way truly worthy of this proud gourd.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
From Canal House Cooks Every Day by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012)
Use a heavy, thick-fleshed pumpkin variety like the orange Cinderella, the beige Cheese, or the blue Jarrahdale for this soup. Their thick, sturdy walls won’t collapse as they roast in the oven.
Yields 6 to 8 servings.
1 Cinderella, Cheese, or blue Jarrahdale pumpkin, 5 to 8 pounds
4 to 8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
2 generous pinches of Basque red chile powder (or hot paprika if you can’t find it)
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
2 to 3 cups grated Gruyère (or Swiss) cheese
2 bay leaves
4 to 6 cups chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Cut out a wide lid around the stem of the pumpkin, scrape off and discard any seeds, and set the lid aside. Using a metal spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and strings from the inside.
2. Put the pumpkin in a roasting pan. Rub the flesh inside the pumpkin with the butter, then with the ground fennel, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese and bay leaves. Pour enough stock into the pumpkin to come within about 3 inches of the rim. Fit the lid back on the pumpkin.
3. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour. Remove the lid and place it flesh side up beside the pumpkin. Continue roasting the pumpkin until the flesh inside is soft when pierced with a paring knife, taking care not to puncture the skin, 30 to 90 minutes depending on the size of the pumpkin.
4. Carefully transfer the pumpkin to a serving platter. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Replace the lid for effect, if you like. Serve the pumpkin soup at the table, scraping big spoonfuls of the flesh from the bottom and sides into the broth, then ladling the soup into bowls.
From The Amish Cook at Home by Lovina Eicher with Kevin Williams (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008)
Pumpkin is a vine that really spreads out. So whether we grow pumpkins in a particular year depends largely on how much space we have. I like having fresh pumpkin because it really can be used in a lot of different baked goods. This moist bread is a seasonal favorite!
Yields 2 loaves.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups homemade pumpkin purée, or 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
4 large eggs, beaten
2⁄3 cup water
1⁄3 cup oil
1 cup pecans, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans (9-by-13-inch). Knock out the excess flour.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk to blend. Stir in the pumpkin, eggs, water, oil and pecans. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour.