Although they’re best known for Jack o Lantern grins and pie, pumpkins are cookable just like the other members of its squash family and can be boiled, baked, steamed or roasted. Hey, pumpkins are even used to flavor beer! Here are a few tips on how to tackle the great pumpkin in the kitchen!
First, scrub the outside of the pumpkin with a vegetable brush.
Then cut the pumpkin in half and use a spoon to scrape out the fibers and the seeds. A slotted spoon works great for this. Cut the pumpkin halves into smaller pieces, then place them skin side up in a shallow baking dish. Add water to just cover the bottom of the dish, and cover tightly.
Bake in a 325ºF oven until the pumpkin is fork tender. The time will vary depending on the size of your pieces. Let it cool, and then either cut off the peel or scoop out the flesh.
Now that you’ve mastered that, try this delicious recipe!
Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots
- 1 (3 pound) pumpkin, seeded and cut into 8 wedges
- 6 large shallots, peeled and quartered
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon sliced fresh sage leaves
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the pumpkin, shallots, and garlic in a roasting pan and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, pour the mixture over the pumpkin, and toss to coat. Roast, turning the pumpkin and shallots twice during cooking, until browned and tender, about 60 minutes. Serve immediately.
What about those pumpkin seeds? When you are carving your pumpkin, separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh and strings. Wash them well (try putting them in a big bowl of water and rubbing them between your hands) and let them drain in a strainer for about 30 minutes, then spread them out on a baking pan to dry.
Once they’re dry, let’s roast these babies! Rub with olive oil, toss with sea salt and cook in a 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them, guys, they turn from yummy to burned in a flash!
To shake things up, try these variations:
Savory: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Holiday: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Spicy: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For each of these, simply toss ingredients with the seeds and roast in the oven the same way, at 325 for about 10 minutes.
How was your pumpkin cooking experience? Share your comments below!