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SSB Week 8 - Native American/North African Pumpkin Stew

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:

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Native American/North African Pumpkin Stew

Step One:
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.

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Step Two:
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)

Step Three:
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

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Step Four:
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.

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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.

Comments (7)

This looks interesting. I don't think that we have tried any African food. I guess we've stuck to Asia, Central America, Europe,and NA. Perhaps it is time to explore a new continent. . . .

This stew looks so good, and the presentation is beautiful. Thanks for choosing pumpkin-it was a fun ingredient to work with.

nancyhol:

I loved the pumpkin theme this week.

And your stew looks delicious - definitely a fall kind of dish!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Deborah, your dish looks so delicious and I just love your presentation in their individual pumpkins. What a wonderful blend of flavors.

Thank you so much for picking pumpkin. Growing up my mom made many dishes using pumpkin in stew like dishes and they were always one of my favorites.

Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. Have a great day today.

Brad'll Do It:

Well, you made it, but you never said if you liked it or not. How was it?

Deborah responds:
You're right, Brad. I posted my opinion on the tastiness of the dish on the SlowTalk thread. (2 thumbs up, by the way.) I didn't realize that I didn't say anything about it here.

amy:

Love the spices, and the use of the mini pumpkins for serving. How much of a PITA was it to hollow them out? I think I'd lose a thumb in the process.

Deborah responds: I think the main problem will be not letting your knife go all the way through the bottom when you are starting your cut. Once you get a few cuts in it, a nice strong spoon or icecream scoop should do most of the hollowing out.

Alex:

Just found this while searching for a picture of a rather extreme Native American pumpkin sculpture. Looks fantastic! I will have to try it.

I was also wondering, if you happen to read this, are those pumpkin bowls edible afterwards, or are they purely for serving the contents? I like pumpkin in all forms including the flowers, so I feel this had to be asked.

Deborah responds:
They are edible, mini-pumpkins. I roasted them before filling them, so in theory they could be eaten, I supposed. However, I just used them as bowls.

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