Pink is the New Orange Pumpkin
By Nancy Eisman
Available from Melissa’s since 2012, so not completely new, Pink Pumpkins are a pretty, tasty, and uplifting player in the beat breast cancer patch of promotions. Melissa’s is proudly part of a coalition of seed sellers, growers, and retailers who join together to raise research funds during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, through the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation.
Aka Porcelain Doll Pink Pumpkins, these pale pink skinned, intense orange flesh beauties aren’t just perfect for seasonal décor, but are one of the best tasting pumpkins on the market. You can use the tender flesh in any recipe that you’d normally use traditional pumpkin, while at the same time know that you are supporting a good cause.
Not only is pumpkin a versatile ingredient for both savory and sweet dishes, its texture and flavor is only exceeded by its high nutritional value. Incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, low in calories, and full of dietary fiber, pumpkin is an excellent addition for your culinary creativity.
In the spirit of the season, with Halloween being my favorite holiday, I created this Orange/Black Stew, combining sweet, tender orange pumpkin flesh, Dutch yellow® potatoes, black beans, black garlic, white onions, red-but-turns-black kale, coconut milk, peanut butter, and aromatic spices. It’s a healthy, colorful, easy recipe that will fill you up with nutrition, comfort, and great flavors. Perfect for a potluck dinner or anytime on a brisk, fall day.
(Thanks go out to Amanda Kay Paa, author of “Smitten with Squash” and the blog Heartbeet Kitchen, recipes that spotlight squashes of all colors and shapes, and to Cheryl Forberg, James Beard award-winning chef and registered dietician whose African Groundnut Stew recipe in her book “Stop the Clock! Cooking” was the main inspiration.)
Orange and Black are The New Orange and Black Stew
1 package Melissa’s Basmati and Wild Rice
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1½ cups White Onion chopped
½ teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1½ cups Black Beans, cooked
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Yellow Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Hatch Chile Powder
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
2 cups Dutch Yellow® Potatoes, cooked and quartered
4 cups Pink Pumpkins, roasted and cubed
2 cloves Black Garlic
1 can (13.5 ounces) Lite Coconut Milk
¾ cup Peanut Butter
2 cups Red Kale, chopped
Roasted Peanuts (optional)
Cooking the Pumpkin:
Since pumpkins can be difficult to cut into when raw, my cooking technique is to take a metal skewer, poke a whole in each section, place the pumpkin on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven at 300 degrees for about 1 hour until tender. Remove the pumpkin from the oven, wait until it cools enough to handle, slice off the top, pull out the seeds and membraney stuff, then cut up the pumpkin as needed. There should be quite a bit of pumpkin remaining after you take out 4 cups for this recipe.
Prepare the basmati rice according to package instructions, but omit the spice package and save it for another recipe. Set aside.
To make the stew:
Put the olive oil in a stock pot, and add the onions and a ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes until onions start to soften. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute.
Add the black beans, spices, potatoes, and pumpkin, and toss to combine.
Add the coconut milk, peanut butter, and black garlic, stir to blend, and continue cooking about 15 minutes until a thickened sauce is created. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add the kale, cover the pot, and cook about 2-3 minutes until the kale is steamed. Stir the stew to mix in the kale. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve the stew with the basmati and wild rice, either in individual bowls, or on a large platter for family style dining.