SEASON OF THE PUMPKIN

Edmonton Sun - - LIFE - Rita DEMONTIS rde­mon­[email protected]­media.com @ri­tade­mon­tis

When fall ar­rives, so does ev­ery­one’s love af­fair with the pumpkin. It’s the face of Hal­loween, besties with such spices as cin­na­mon and nut­meg, flavours a zil­lion cups of cof­fee and is the star at­trac­tion at Thanks­giv­ing, com­ing up this week­end.

This gor­geous gourd comes in a va­ri­ety of types, one for ev­ery dish. Ac­cord­ing to au­thor Deedee Stovel in the de­light­ful Pumpkin Cook­book (Storey), pump­kins have “long been prized for their nu­tri­tion, adapt­abil­ity and stay­ing power. Pump­kins of­fer pro­tein, com­plex car­bo­hy­drates, vi­ta­min c, potas­sium and huge amounts of vi­ta­min A.” Plus it’s high in fi­bre and lower in calo­ries, adds Stovel.

Here’s a se­lec­tion of recipes in­clud­ing the clas­sic pumpkin pie!

VEGAN THAI CURRY PUMPKIN SOUP WITH COCONUT MILK

A fast and flavour­ful dish ready in un­der 30 min­utes. Cour­tesy Al­li­son Day and Food­net­work.ca.

2 tbsp. (30 ml) coconut oil

1 tbsp. (15 ml) toasted sesame oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves gar­lic, minced

2 tbsp. (30 ml) vegan thai red or yel­low curry paste

1 tbsp. (15 ml) peeled minced fresh gin­ger

1 (3-inch) stalk lemon­grass, bruised

2 cups (500 ml) low-sodium veg­etable broth, plus more to thin as needed

1 (15 oz./425g) can pumpkin puree or 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree

2 tbsp. (30 ml) tamari or soy sauce 1 (14 oz./415 ml)) can coconut milk, 1 tbsp. (15 ml) re­served for gar­nish

2 tbsp. (30 ml) lime juice, plus more for serv­ing

/3 cup (75 ml) shred­ded

1 thai basil or fresh cilantro 3 red thai chilis, sliced or minced

In a large pot, heat coconut oil and sesame oil over medium heat un­til shim­mer­ing. Add onion, gar­lic, curry paste, gin­ger and lemon­grass, re­duce heat to medium-low, and cook un­til onions are soft­ened, about 10 min­utes.

Add broth, pumpkin and tamari or soy sauce. Bring mix­ture to a boil, re­duce to a sim­mer, cover and cook for 10 min­utes. Re­move lid and dis­card lemon­grass. Stir in coconut milk and lime juice. Us­ing an im­mer­sion blender, puree soup un­til smooth, or trans­fer to a blender and puree soup in batches. If soup is too thick for your pref­er­ence, thin with ad­di­tional broth un­til de­sired con­sis­tency. Re­heat soup over low heat, la­dle into bowls, swirl over re­served coconut milk and top with basil or cilantro and chili. Serve with ad­di­tional lime juice.

Serves 4-6.

WILD RICE AND PUMPKIN GRATIN

A won­der­ful side dish to serve this hol­i­day week­end, cre­ated by Chefs Bernard Bruin and Joshua Rab­bie of La Provence Res­tau­rant & Ter­race, Ro­seville, Cal­i­for­nia for Thinkrice.com.

1 pumpkin (2 lbs./1.2 kg) peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes

3/4 cup (175 ml) cooked wild rice

1 cup (250 ml) Gruyere cheese, shred­ded

1/4 cup (60 ml) all-pur­pose flour

2 cloves gar­lic

1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped

salt and pep­per, to taste

1 pinch nut­meg

3 tbsp. (45 ml) bread­crumbs

3 tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil

Pre­heat oven to 325F (160C). Oil a 7 x 9-inch bak­ing dish. Place pumpkin cubes in a large bowl. Toss in wild rice, cheese, flour, gar­lic, thyme, salt, pep­per and nut­meg, mak­ing sure pumpkin cubes are well coated. Top with bread­crumbs and driz­zle with olive oil.

Bake un­til pumpkin is ten­der when pierced with tip of a knife and top is golden brown, about 30 min­utes.

If top has not browned suf­fi­ciently, raise oven tem­per­a­ture to 425F (220C) and bake an­other few min­utes.

Re­move from oven and serve hot.

Serves 6.

PUMPKIN PIE

It’s World Egg Day this Fri­day, Oct. 11! Cel­e­brate with this de­light­ful pumpkin pie which is guar­an­teed to be­come a fam­ily fave this hol­i­day season. Cour­tesy Egg Farm­ers of Canada, eggs.ca. 1 store-bought 9-inch (23 cm) ready-to-bake pie shell

Filling

14 oz. (400 g) can pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) 35% cream, di­vided

2/3 cup (150 ml) firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla

1 tsp. (5 ml) ground cin­na­mon 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) ground gin­ger 1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) ground cloves 1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) ground nut­meg

1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) salt Pinch cayenne pep­per (op­tional) 2 tbsp. (30 ml) ic­ing sugar

Bake pie shell ac­cord­ing to pack­age in­struc­tions. Let cool com­pletely

Filling: Pre­heat oven to 350F (180C). Whisk to­gether pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup (175 ml) cream, brown sugar, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, cin­na­mon, gin­ger, cloves, nut­meg, salt, and cayenne (if us­ing). Pour filling into pie shell. Bake for 55 to 65 min­utes or un­til filling is set around edges but still jig­gles slightly in cen­tre. Trans­fer to rack; let cool com­pletely.

To serve, whip re­main­ing cream with elec­tric mixer un­til stiff peaks form. Stir in ic­ing sugar. Serve each piece of pie with dol­lop of whipped cream.

Serves 12

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