Saturday, October 26, 2013

Savory Pumpkin Side Dish

Our grocery offers three types of pumpkins at this time of the year.  He labels them “cooking”, “baking” and “carving”.  Of course these are not the actual varieties but what he feels they are best used for.  I've discussed pie pumpkins for baking in the prior posting and as the variety is limited you can trust that your grocer has them labeled correctly.  But what about ‘cooking’ pumpkins?  They do have several varieties all of which look quite different.

I used Kakai pumpkins as that is what he had labeled for cooking.  Better yet, he offered them sliced into halves and quarters which was perfect for a side dish for 2-4 persons.   For a full description with photos check out “All About Pumpkins” to find the perfect variety for your use or just go with your grocer’s recommendation.

1/2 (about 3 pounds) fresh pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar variety)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup water
green onions, cilantro or parsley for garnish

Wash the outsides and slice off the stem.  Using a heavy ice cream scoop, scrape out the seeds and strings leaving the lighter orange flesh intact with the shell.  (You may wish to save the seeds for later roasting.) Slice the pumpkin into wedges about 2 inches thick at their widest center.  Using a sharp knife, cut off the skin and discard it.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat with the olive oil.  Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes until tender.  Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the pumpkin and stir to coat in the mixture. Sprinkle with the vinegar, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Stir to combine flavors.  Turn the mixture every minute or two to encourage cooking on all sides, for about five minutes.

Add water to the pumpkin and cover with a lid.  Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes more, until the pumpkin is tender yet still firm enough to maintain its shape.  Serve as a side dish,

 I you prefer, cook it longer until it is soft and then serve it mashed like potatoes.  Garnish the dish with slices green onions, cilantro or parsley.  A delicious taste of autumn that is quick and easy to prepare!

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