Or does that make you want to hurl fresh, summer tomatoes at me? Trust me, I am NOT one to rush summer. Or spring or fall for that matter. However, we all know it’s only a matter of a few weeks or so, until pumpkin EVERYTHING shows up in our news feeds, our coffee shops, and our farm markets. Not one to necessarily avoid a trend, I just like to think on it first. I love pumpkin everything. I do. I love fall. I do. I am sickened by winter, and the fact that people will even think too much about Christmas (other than travel planning) before October/November completely blows my mind because I love summer so much. Pumpkins, though. Pumpkins in August. Why not pre-plan a delicious autumn meal? A mind-blowing Pumpkin Stew baked in a pumpkin.
You can also bake the stew in a casserole pan, if you don’t happen to have The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in your house. And trust me, I once asked Cassidy to make this stew in January for a dear friend with a new baby, and you just can’t buy whole big pumpkins year-round. Who knew? Well probably, everyone but me. That’s the great thing about this pumpkin stew, though.
My first experience with the stew was when I was pregnant with Scarlet, but I didn’t know it yet. My father-in-law, Larry, made it so I call it “Grandpa Larry’s Pumpkin Stew.” At the time, he cooked it in a casserole pan, and we only found out about the pumpkin way later. I’ve been wanting to write a photo tutorial on this for ages, but I thought I would have to wait until actual fall. Well, I’m in luck because when Cassidy made the stew at our old apartment, he took photos of the whole experience.
Pumpkins – one double the size of the other. My larger one is around 17lbs.
1 can corn
2-3 cans of beans – I use cannellini and lima or pinto.
1.5lbs sausage (I used Applegate Farms skinless organic chicken/turkey)
2-4 cups cooked wild rice (I use a lot)
1-2 boxes of low sodium chicken broth (approx. 4 cups)
1-2 cups chopped carrots
3-4 cups potatoes
1. Cook potatoes (peeled or not peeled depending on how you like ‘em), carrots, rice, and brown sausage. Nothing needs to be cooked well done. Al dente everything since it will have two hours in the stew. You could also cook all this stuff well ahead of time, even a day before.
2. Take the smaller pumpkin and cut into quarters. Take out pumpkin “guts” and with a knife, carefully remove outside skin. Chop pumpkin meat into 1″ cubes – you want 6-8 cups. Steam pumpkin cubes until a little soft but not cooked. Alternately, you could microwave them in a ceramic bowl covered with water in it just to get them a bit soft but not mushy.
3. Take the larger pumpkin and remove the top (make sure you are cutting at an angle so lid doesn’t fall in when cooking). Take out all pumpkin guts. NOTE: be careful right at the bottom center of the pumpkin – some have holes there and if you scrape too much you’ll expose the hole and stew will pour out. I just scraped one layer off inside because you want the walls to be as thick as possible to hold stew.
4. Once all that is done, pour an entire box of broth in a large stew pot on medium-high heat. Add in all other ingredients you want to use. Heat to almost boiling, but it doesn’t need to boil since you’re just mixing everything here and getting it pre-warmed. In my photo tutorial (below), you’ll see that I didn’t add the rice or sausage to this mix. I could have done it but they were already warm. There are only two spices I used – a LOT of finely chopped rosemary and a lot of nutmeg (I would say a TBSP of each easily, maybe more). These two create a real “autumn” flavor. Spice your stew to taste. When the pot is warmed, taste it – then add any salt and pepper to taste. Some of these ingredients have salt in them so I wait until it is all mixed to salt it.
5. Mix everything into your large pumpkin and stir it up. Take one last taste. If it is too thick, you can add more broth.
6. Put lid back on pumpkin.
7. Coat outside of pumpkin with olive oil. Wrap foil around handle (protects it from cracking). Place in an oven safe pan. I used a glass dish, shown below.
8. I cooked it for two hours at 335. This may vary, depending on your oven.
9. Remove from oven, remove foil from handle, open and stick a ladle in there!
10. Note: Recipe is VERY flexible. It can feed a small party or a very large family, so you might have leftovers! If you like one vegetable, rice, meat, spice, etc., substitute or increase/decrease levels. It is hard to go wrong. And now, for your viewing pleasure, and if you’re a better visual learner. Pumpkin Stew recipe in 20+ photos:
Let me know if you have any questions or comments! I’ll answer them fully…err.. I mean, I’ll forward them to Cassidy to get you good answers. I’m no foodie, but I do know a great recipe when I see (eat) it. This one is a hit. We once built a whole pumpkin party based around this as a main course. Friends brought pumpkin snacks, appetizers, side dishes and desserts to go with it. It was a blast. Cassidy also once made this and we brought it right to a potluck party IN the pumpkin! It remained warm and was of course a conversation piece to have us waltz in there carrying a giant pumpkin, simmering with delicious stew inside. Try it this fall – and let me know how it goes! To all my friends – thanks for urging me to turn this into a blog post/recipe/tutorial.