This is week eight of the SlowTrav Sunday Small Bites challenge. And it was my week to choose the featured ingredient.
When I picked pumpkin, I was thinking that I'd like to do something with a Native American flavor. And then I started thinking that North African would be cool too. So I decided to use Native American vegetables and North African spices. Here's what I came up with:
Native American/North African Pumpkin Stew
One medium heirloom pumpkin of your choice, cleaned, peeled, & seeded.
3-4 garlic cloves finely minced or pressed in garlic press
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil to coat
Cut only the firmest part of the pumpkin flesh into about 1/2” cubes and measure six cups into a bowl for tossing.
Add olive oil and minced garlic and toss to coat.
Spread out in a shallow pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast in a 450 degree convection oven until edges begin to brown.
Remove and allow to cool.
While pumpkin is roasting, soften in a small amount of olive oil —
1 cup red onions (diced into uniform 1/4” pieces)
1/2 cup diced mushrooms of your choice (used a handful from my container of dried mixed wild mushrooms and soaked them in warm water before dicing)
Add in —
1 cup diced tomatoes (Use firm ripe tomatoes. Remove all seeds and dice same size as onion)
1/2 cup warm water in which you have been soak 8-10 saffron threads. (leave the saffron in)
1/2 cup minced dried apricots
1 cup pre-cooked Heirloom Red Quinoa
1 teas. dried cilantro flakes
2 tbsp. minced fresh mint
1/2 teas. each Zatar & Sumac berry spices (I get mine from Penzey’s)
1/4 teas. Each of red pepper flakes & five spice powder
1 1/2 teas. Salt
Toss all of these ingredients together then add —
1/12 cup roasted corn kernels (I use the frozen bags from Trader Joes. Just thaw it first)
6 cups roasted pumpkin cubes
Add up to 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth, one cup at a time as you simmer and gently stir your ingredients to combine. Don’t use more broth than you need to make a stew that has almost no liquid at all. You want this to be a chunky stew you eat with a fork, not a spoon.
You also don’t want to stir so hard that you break down your pumpkin.
To Serve —
Before roasting the pumpkin, I hollowed out 4 small ornamental pumpkins, coated them in oil and added them to the roasting pan.
I used these as serving bowls for the pumpkin stew and garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.
Each mini-pumpkin held about 1/3 cup.
This recipe makes about 10 cups of stew. So, I used only a small portion of the stew as an appetizer, and saved the rest to be used the next day as a main course. It keeps very well for several days in the fridge and can be successfully heated in the microwave, one bowl at a time.