Devilishly Delightful Pumpkin Stew

Saturday was a gorgeous day. The trees sported a vast array of vibrant colors: yellow, red, deep crimson, greenish yellow, burnt orange, amongst other hues. The sun radiated a pleasing 80 some-odd degrees and was juxtaposed against the snow-capped mountain range to the West of us.

When I had originally invited Jan and Mike (AKA: Jan’s Man) over for lunch I had mentioned that our pool was still open. Just the day earlier I had sat by the same pool with my girlfriend Deb. As we waded in, we discovered that the heat was in fact turned off. Today, I had awoken to discover the pool in the process of being drained. Oh well, it was still a lovely day to dine Al Fresco.

Jan’s man turned out to be quite the Mixologist. He arrived with Freshies Bloody Mary Mix, all kinds of spices and accoutrements and made the most mah-velous Bloody Mary’s to insure that we all drank our veggies:

I had assembled and cooked the stew and stuffed my pumpkin the day before. Said pumpkin had been seeded, scooped, oiled, salted and peppered and I had pressed fresh grated sharp cheddar into the bottom of my bright orange cooking vessel. The added bonus was when I tossed the rinsed pumpkin seeds with EVO and a little Green Chili Infused sea sat and roasted them for a snack!

I was making a small pumpkin as there were just four of us, but I have also made a much larger one at Thanksgiving last year. I used the version I found in Vegetarian Times, doubled it and it had made a lovely dish side dish & a main for the vegetarians at my table. This is my version of their recipe along side of theirs which was published in the Oct. 1, 2008 issue

Spicy Fall Stew Baked in a Pumpkin

(For Vegetarians, omit the pork)

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup diced onion

2 Tbslp. EVO, divided

1 diced, boneless pork chop tossed in flour, salt & pepper

2 red Anaheim Chili’s (they suggest 1 red bell pepper), diced

4 cloves garlic minced (they use 2)

(my addition-1 Red Serrano Pepper, chopped, with seeds)

I used 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder, 1/2 tsp Chipotle, 1/4 tsp Habanera Infused Sea Salt; they used 1 tsp Chili Powder, preferably New Mexican

I also added about 2 Tblsp Fresh Chopped Cilantro

 Salt-not need if using my mixture of Chili Powders and infused salt

1tsp ground Cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 15 oz can Hominy, rinsed and drained

1 lb tomatillos, husked and quartered (about 11/2 cups)

1 3-4 lb pumpkin, either sugar pie, cheese, red kuri or kabocha

2 oz grated sharp Cheddar Cheese ( 1/4 cup packed)

1 cup water (I use 1 cup beer-what ever is in the house)

 

                                         (Pumkin stew slot 2-stuffed & ready)

 

Directions

 

If serving within a few hours, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 1 Tblsp EVO in a pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper or Anaheim’s, Serrano, pork chop (if using) and garlic. Saute until pork in golden and onions and pepper are soft, about 7 minutes. Stir in Chili powders, cumin, oregano and cilantro and cook an additional few minutes until the spices darken.

Add tomatillos, hominy, water or beer, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partly covered, about 10-12 minutes or until tomatillos are softened.

Cut top off pumpkin, scoop out seeds and string, rub with EVO, S&P and press cheddar into the bottom

Fill pumpkin with stew and then place the top back on. When ready to bake place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours (bake longer if using a bigger pumpkin and doubling the recipe) or until the pumpkin flesh is fork tender. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.

Scoop stew, including pumpkin scraped from bottom and sides into bowls.

Delish!

I served this with a simple green salad made of butter lettuces, diced tomatoes, avocado, feta and onion and then tossed with EVO and Balsamic; a warm loaf of multigrain bread and Chocolate Zucchini Bread for desert. And yes, I am looking remarkably like a pumpkin these days!

 

 

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