Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pumpkin chili

I love pumpkin seeds, even the tiny ones that I have to nearly pick apart with a tweezer... well that might be a bit much! I cooked one of my small pumpkins last night that was from August - and it was still very good. I roasted the seeds and they are tiny, but have that delectable green oily stuff in them that is the reason I keep picking at them.

With the flesh, which was a little stringy, I made pumpkin chili.

Cut and scrape out all the stringy stuff and seeds on the inside. Set this aside in a bowl of water for preparing another treat (look at the end). Cook the pumpkin face down in the water for about an hour, or less - if the pumpkin is very small, at 350 degrees.

Pull the pumpkin out, cut into quarters and set to cool. Scrape the outer skin off with a fork and butter knife. Put the pulp into a pan with as much water and boil it for a few minutes, add precooked beans and let it cook some more. Then you have time for additions:
some leafy greens (spinach or kale, I used beet greens because they were in the fridge)
a little starch (A small piece of cooked potato or rutabaga cut up small)
a little cornmeal, sprinkled and stirred in
cut vegetables (frozen zucchini for mine)
diced canned tomatoes (or fresh if you have it)
spices (salt, pepper, onion powder, celery seed, mexican chili powder, basil)

Cook it all together and use your senses to see if there is anything else it is 'missing' for you.

Pumpkin seeds:
wash the seeds and sort out the pulp strings
put the seeds in a pan with a good amount of water
add salt, just a bit
boil for ten minutes
strain out the seeds
prepare a flat bottom pan for the oven with a thin coat of olive oil
dry the seeds a little with a paper towel, just lightly pressed on them
pour them into the pan and stir them a little to coat with oil
add just a little salt to the mix
roast at 350 for about ten minutes, not too long - or the insides will turn to powder inside the shells.

I cook mine short, then dry them off with a towel. I really like the meat inside to be green and oily. Still, even with a short cooking time, sometimes the insides just fall apart and there is nothing good inside some of the seeds :(

I like this recipe, too and his science+cat graphic at the top of the page. It seems others had the same 'spinach should go with this' urge that I had... and turkey came to mind, too - but I went without it.

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