Pumpkin is not just for sweet dishes you know. This wonderful vegetable is really good in a savory dish.
I was given this recipe from Williams-Sonoma at last week's technique class. I admit, I was skeptical. I mean I love pumpkin, mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. It's sweet. It's great in bread, cookies, ice cream, and of course pie....but a stew?
So Chef Monique made this in class, and my motto is to try everything in class. Just try it...cause I'm a picky girl and if it doesn't sound good or look good I'll usually pass. I've passed on a lot in my life. But this class allows me to experiment. I mean, we made a smoothie with pineapple and spinach in it the other day....spinach? eek! not in my drink! Well I tried it and it was HEAVENLY...green, but heavenly.
So I gave the pumpkin stew a try and you know what? I fell in love! A savory pumpkin dish gives a whole new meaning to this autumn ingredient.
So I went home and straight away made the stew for our Sunday Supper. It's a great hearty family meal. MGG loved it! I loved it! Enough said.
So you can make this Pumpkin Stew 2 ways.
1) Using the recipe below, you can cook this in a slow cooker, from scratch, roasting and cubing pumpkin in about 4 hours.
2) Using this nifty bottle of Williams-Sonoma's Stewsday Pumpkin Stew Starter along with your pork in a slow cooker in about 3 hours.
Guess which way I chose?
I chose the bottle. In class we compared the ingredients from the recipe to those in the bottle and they were the same. Pumpkin Stew Starter is an all-natural blend of roasted pumpkin, tomatoes and carrots, gently seasoned with garlic and aromatic autumn spices. Pretty much all natural ingredients. I love that about their items. While it is a little costly $16.00 each or 2 for $28.00 this stew makes a great meal, and calls for 3lbs of pork, so it will feed quite a few people. Great to make a big batch and freeze part of it for future meals.
Let's just say that I loved this sooo much and it is sooo easy that I went back to the store and purchased 2 more bottle so I have them over the winter. (I think this is a seasonal item, according to the store clerk)
I took 3 lbs of pork loin and cut it up into cubes. Both the jar and the recipe call for pork shoulder but I prefer the leaner pork loin. Use what you feel is best. Even chicken would be good.
I seasoned the pork with salt and pepper and threw it in my slow cooker. Then I poured the jar of stew stater over the pork and cooked it on high for 3 hours. Easy!
Once it was done, it was pull apart tender!
So if you are inclined to make this from scratch...here is the recipe or try the bottle! (I won't tell)
- 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. chicken demi-glace
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 3 Tbs. applesauce
- 9 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juices
- 1 lb. peeled and diced (3/4-inch dice) pumpkin or winter squash, such as kabocha
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
- 4 tsp. chicken stock concentrate mixed with 2 cups water, or 2 cups chicken stock
Season the pork with salt and black pepper. In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, demi-glace, tomato paste, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, applesauce, tomatoes with their juices, pumpkin, sage, stock and pork. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the pork is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Skim the fat off the sauce. Serve the stew over mashed potatoes or rice.