Jack O'Lantern Stew
I know y'all probably get sick of me talking about my Halloween birthday girl - but there it is. She adores her birthday, and I've had a blast her entire little life creating special dishes for her special day and for trick-or-treating.
Combine that with the wonderful veggies that start appearing in the fall and I'm in Heaven. I love them all - but pumpkin holds a special place for me, because of my girl. But there's also so much to love! Its delicious, easy to fix, inexpensive and can be used in any number of dishes. Sweet or savory it's just delightful.
This stew is for her. In the fall it's easy to find pork on sale, so I like to use pork, especially because the pork marries so beautifully with the pork and the smokey cumin. But feel free to use other meats. Anything works. Also - try to use homemade stock. It makes a big difference here. If you don't have home made, then boot the flavor with a few bouillion cubes - just be careful of the salt.
And take a look below at how easy it is to roast off and mash pumpkin! You can use the canned stuff - but fresh is so delicious - once you try it you'll be hooked.
Pumpkin is super easy to fix - and roasting it is my favorite. Just cut it in half and place it face down in a casserole dish. Add a half inch of water or so and place it in a 350F oven. Depending on the size (mainly the thickness of the walls) of the pumpkin, it will take between 30-50 minutes.
Once tender, scoop the flesh into a strainer lined with a coffee filter and suspended over a bowl. The excess moisture will drain off, making it easier to use in baked goods. You can puree it first if you wish, and then drain it, for a super silky texture.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 4 medium potatoes, diced
- 1 small pumpkin, roasted and mashed
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14 oz can golden hominy, drained and rinsed
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 1/5 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 medium pie pumpkin
- 3-4 cups shredded beef, chicken or pork
- For garnish (optional), chopped cilantro, scallions, sour cream, shredded jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F. Clean pumpkin, and carve as a Jack Lantern, but don’t let the design go all the way through the skin. Oil the inside and outside of the pumpkin with vegetable oil, and salt and pepper the inside.
- Place pumpkin on a baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, or just until beginning to be tender. Don’t let it go too far, or it’ll collapse. When done, set aside and allow to cool.
- In the meantime, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the vegetables are fragrant. Add garlic, tomatoes, black beans, hominy and pumpkin, stirring to combine.
- Add chicken broth, cumin, coriander, oregano, parsley and salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the flavors are well combined, and the potatoes are tender. Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper. Stir in pork, chicken or beef and heat through.
- Ladle stew into the pumpkin tureen and serve. Garnish with chopped cilantro and chopped green onion, or sour cream and a bit of cheese.
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