I think I have always loved pumpkins. They say fall better than anything and I love fall. My grandma made delicious pumpkin pie (something I have never been able to figure out) and my sister Ally makes the most amazing pumpkin bread. (Was than an obvious hint?) Our CSA has an annual farm tour before Halloween and they plant a pumpkin patch just for the occasion. We always pick a couple Cinderella pumpkins for pumpkin muffins, my annual attempt at pumpkin pie, and homemade pumpkin ice cream.
We baked our pumpkins last night (after scooping away the stringy bits and saving the seeds), let them cool and then scooped the flesh away from the skin. Rather than putting the scooped out flesh in the food processor to reduce the stringiness like years past, I used our food mill that I purchased this summer for tomato sauce. This removed all of the stringy pieces and made a beautiful puree. I am so glad that my $70 splurge is good for tomato sauce, applesauce, and pumpkin puree. With all the puree made and seeds saved, I set to work at making some local pumpkin treats.
First, the seeds…
We always save the pumpkin seeds and roast them, but it is always such a painstaking process to remove all of the clingy flesh from the seeds. The first time I saved the seeds, Matt warned me about a traumatic childhood experience when he attended a birthday party with home roasted pumpkin seeds that still had some of the flesh attached. I am surprised he actually tried my pumpkin seeds after that. Browsing on Simply Recipes a few weeks ago, I found a slightly less painstaking process by boiling the rinsed seeds in salt water before roasting. This actually worked amazingly well, with no traumatic experiences. I used the rest of the recipe as well, but actually prefer the Sugar and Spice Pepitas recipe from Epicurious. Just about every person that tries them asks for the recipe.
Not another pumpkin pie…
Rather than continue my futile effort at making a decent pumpkin pie, I decided on a pumpkin tart instead. I got the idea when we visited Belly last week and had the most delicious pumpkin tart for dessert. I am sorry for not telling you about the pumpkin tart in last week’s post. It was an oversight on my part – there was just so much to tell you about… I found a Sour Cream Pumpkin Tart recipe in Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Although I am not known for my baking skills and could have easily made a mistake, the recommended baking time was off significantly. The tart is for Thanksgiving, so we will have to wait for the taste test. Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks and smells…
To complete a pumpkin trifecta, I made pumpkin enchiladas for dinner (sorry… no photo). I liberally adapted Martha Stewart’s Spicy Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce recipe. They were really, really good. My only disappointment is that we leave for Sunriver tomorrow so the leftovers will need to go in the freezer. Here is my version of pumpkin enchiladas. I converted the recipe to a casserole from standard enchiladas. Unless you fry corn tortillas in oil before assembling the enchiladas, enchiladas come out looking like casserole anyway so why fight the battle?
Pumpkin Enchilada Casserole, liberally adapted from Martha Stewart’s Spicy Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce
1-1/2 lbs chicken breast (free range from WA – somewhat local)
Cream cheese, about 3/4 of container (Western Family – probably regional)
1 bunch of green onions, sliced thinly (from Capella, California – not local)
2-1/2 cups pumpkin puree (CSA – local)
8-10 cloves of garlic (CSA – local)
3-4 chiles in adobo (not local)
1/2 of a small onion (CSA – local)
8 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, grated (Organic Valley – probably regional)
9-10 corn tortillas (Carmen’s – local distributor)
Salt & pepper
For the filling: Cut the chicken into strips, put into a saucepan and cover with water. Cook uncovered over medium high heat. As the chicken cooks, use your wooden spoon to break the chicken up further. The ultimate goal is for it to be shredded. Add water to the chicken, if necessary. After chicken is shredded, let most of the water boil off and add the green onions and cream cheese.
For the sauce. Place the garlic, chiles in adobo, pumpkin puree and onion in a food processor. Process until mixture forms a puree. Put the puree in a small saucepan and add a glass or two of water to thin the puree. Simmer over low heat.
To assemble. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a 9×13 baking dish, add enough sauce to cover the bottom. Add a layer of corn tortillas, overlapping them some. Spread 1/2 of the filling over the corn tortillas, followed by 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat with another corn tortilla layer, filling layer, and cheese layer. Finish with a layer of corn tortillas, followed by enough sauce to very generously cover the top, and the rest of the cheese. You may have some sauce leftover – put it in the freezer for another meal later. Bake about 25-30 minutes. The top should be slightly brown.