White Bean, Chicken and Pumpkin Chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh pumpkin, seeds and fibers removed
1 (15-ounce) can chicken broth
3 (20-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4-ounce) can chopped mild green chiles
2 to 3 teaspoons cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons green Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup minced cilantro
Sour cream for garnish
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion 1 minute. Add garlic and pepper, and cook 1 minute longer. Add chicken and salt, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Microwave pumpkin on high for 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/2-inch chunks to measure 3 cups. Store any remaining pumpkin in refrigerator for up to a week or in freezer for up to 3 months.
Stir in broth, beans, pumpkin, chiles, cumin and Tabasco sauce; cook for 15 minutes over low heat, until chicken is done and pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve while hot, topping each with a pinch of cilantro and dollop of sour cream. Serves 8.
– Pumpkin: A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year by DeeDee Stovel (Storey, 2005)
Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes
Pumpkin hotcakes are one of the hottest breakfast-menu items this time of year, so why not make them at home?
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
3 to 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
Butter and maple syrup, for serving
Heat oven to 200 degrees and place a baking sheet on one of the racks.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a medium bowl until evenly combined. Set aside.
Whisk milk, pumpkin, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until evenly combined. Add flour mixture and pecans and stir until just mixed and moistened (batter will be lumpy), about 30 strokes. Set batter aside to rest while pan or griddle heats.
Heat a large, seasoned cast-iron skillet, nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Test to see if pan is hot enough by sprinkling a couple drops of cold water in it: If water bounces and sputters, pan is ready; if it evaporates instantly, its too hot.
Once pan is ready, add 1 teaspoon of oil and tilt the pan to coat. Ladle batter into pan in 1/3 -cup portions. Cook until golden brown on bottom, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula, flip pancakes and cook until second side is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove to the baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, adding 1 teaspoon oil to pan between batches. Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup.
Makes 10 pancakes.
Caramelized Onion and Squash Bisque
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large sweet onions, diced
2 medium shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 pounds cubed, peeled butternut squash
3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
Ground black pepper
In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions, shallots, salt and herbs, then sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and brown, about another 20 minutes.
Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan. Add the squash and 3 cups of the broth, then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the squash is completely tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Alternatively, puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender. Either way, take care when blending hot liquids.
Return the bisque to the heat and stir in the cream. If a thinner bisque is desired, thin the soup with the remaining cup of broth. Heat until just hot. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings.
To serve, finish with any of the following:
Spiced shrimp and scallions. Toss 12 ounces of small cooked shrimp with 1 teaspoon five-spice powder. Top with sliced scallions.
Asiago and apple. Stir 2 finely diced apples into the bisque, then bring back to a simmer. Top with shredded Asiago cheese.
Barbecue pulled pork. Stir together 2 cups of shredded/pulled cooked pork with 1/3 cup barbecue sauce. Top the soup first with the pork, then a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro.
Two corn and herbs. Cook 1 cup of thawed frozen corn kernels on high in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil until lightly browned. Stir the kernels into the bisque along with 2 tablespoons each of chopped fresh tarragon, thyme and chives. Finish by topping the bisque with salted, buttered popcorn.
Peppered jack. Stir in 1 diced red bell pepper and 1/4 cup diced pickled jalapenos. Top with shredded pepper jack cheese.
Maple bacon blue. Stir in 1/2 cup crumbled crisped bacon and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese.
– Alison Ladman,