In light of this week's pumpkin bounty from Stepped in What Vegetables--a whopping eleven different varieties!--now seems as good a time as ever to brush up on the culinary uses of these fall/winter cucurbits. Did you know, for instance, that Hubbard Squash and Cheese Pumpkins make tastier, richer pies than the standard so-called "Pie Pumpkins" do? Or that pumpkin purée can be used in place of eggs and oil in baking? How about savory recipes? Have you tried adding cubed pumpkin to chili, or stuffing and roasting one for an impressive main dish?
Whether you're planning to make just one pie or a season's worth of recipes, here are some tips and tricks for cooking with these incredibly versatile vegetables:
To Make Pumpkin Purée: Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray 2 baking sheets lightly with cooking spray. Hack the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and cut the pumpkin into manageable wedges (about 2 to 3 inches thick). Place the pumpkin wedges on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer, and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, until the flesh is tender and the skin is easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the pumpkin from the oven. When it is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Then transfer the purée to a colander or fine-mesh sieve, set a plate directly on top of the purée to weigh it down, and let it drain over a bowl for at least 45 minutes, until the purée is as thick as custard. Reserve the pumpkin juice to use in place of water in other recipes.
For pies and other baked goods . . .
Try Hubbard Squash, Cheese Pumpkins, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Fairytale/Musque de Provence, Cinderella, and Porcelain Doll.
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce (from Epicurious)
- Pumpkin Pie (from Sally's Baking Addiction)
- Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts (from Joy the Baker)
For soups, stews, and casseroles . . .
Try Turban Squash, Fairytale/Musque de Provence, Cinderella, Peanut, and
- Pumpkin Gratin (from Jacques Pepin)
- Curried Pumpkin Soup (from Epicurious)
- Pumpkin Chili (from TheKitchn)
For stuffing . . .
Try Cheese Pumpkins, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Fairytale/Musque de Provence, Cinderella, and Porcelain Doll.
- Baked Pumpkins with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Cheese (from Oh My Veggies)
- Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good (from Dorie Greenspan)
- Roast Stuffed Pumpkin with Gingery Tomato Sauce (from Nigella Lawson)
For roasting, pastas, and pizzas . . .
Try Turban Squash, Hubbard Squash, Cheese Pumpkins, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Peanut Pumpkins, Fairytale/ Musque de Provence, and Porcelain Doll.
- Creamy Pumpkin Pizza (from Oh, Sweet Basil)
- Homemade Pumpkin Pasta (from The Minimalist Baker)
- Pizza with Pumpkin, Sausage, and Sage (fromThursday Night Pizza)
For smoothies, juices, and parfaits . . .
Try Cheese Pumpkins, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Peanut Pumpkins, and Porcelain Doll.
- Pumpkin Breakfast Parfait (from Food52)
- Pumpkin Smoothie (from Food Network)
- Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (from TheKitchn)
For decoration and Jack O' Lanterns . . .
Try Baby Boos, Jack be Littles, Sugar Pie/Lil' Ironsides, Cinderella Pumpkins, Field Trip, and Porcelain Doll.