Recipe: October’s Savory Spiced Pumpkin “Ragu”

It’s time for another recipe! First, the recipe. Then, me blathering onward about my occasionally questionable culinary capabilities and the memories this particular autumnal feast holds for me.

  • The Ingredients
    • 4 tablespoons butter plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 cups pureed pumpkin (2 cans of puree or fresh)
    • 4 shallots, minced fine
    • 2 stalks of celery, diced fine
    • 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced fine
    • 1 package sliced mushrooms
    • 1/4 cup good red wine or dark cola
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
    • 1 small white onion, diced
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1/8 teaspoon (or more) of cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked Hungarian paprika
    • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
    • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon each curry powder and turmeric
  • The Way of Preparing
    1. In the oil and butter in a large saucepan, saute the shallots, garlic, onions, celery, yellow bell pepper, and mushrooms with a bit of salt and pepper. A good chef would do this in stages. I am rarely a good chef and so start with the onions and work my way down the line to mushrooms, then the shallots and garlic. Add the bell pepper and the ginger last.
    2. If adding curry powder and turmeric, add it to the sauteed veggies before you add the pumpkin, cooking 30-45 seconds to let it get fragrant and happy.
    3. Add the cola to de-glaze the pan (yes, you can use wine. No, I never have.) before you add the pumpkin puree.
    4. On medium low heat, stir frequently until the pumpkin is warmed through and starting to bubble.
  • Notes
    • How to make better:
      • Optional: Rather than keep it chunky, run it through with an immersion blender, briefly.
      • Add some blanched, diced sweet potato to it! Or some sour cream on top for an extra creamy note.
      • Add more heat with a poblano pepper rather than a yellow bell.
      • Add some extra protein to it by adding some browned stew meat and letting it get all happy in the slow cooker.
      • Serve it over some steamed cauliflower or some rice!
    • Stretch it further
      • Literally the only limit is what you have on hand, what goes well, and the size of your pot. Add more pumpkin!

Memories:

I’ve only made it once, but I had four bowls of it the time I did. It was back in the days of the third floor walk up with the unstable, pretzel-shop employed roommate and it was during a time where we were not speaking much.

This dish, briefly, brought an end to that silence because it smelled so good they wanted some.

This is a dish meant to bring together people as well as ingredients. So try it out and let me know how it works for you!

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