Table Talk: October 2016
The buzz on Tulsa’s tastiest products, restaurants and events
Some things are grown in the garden for practical reasons. Others are grown for pure joy.
That’s the case with the pumpkins my kids and I planted this summer. To watch them grow from seed to sprout to actual pumpkins was such fun.
These pumpkins aren’t big enough to become scary jack o’ lanterns. They’re in fact just the right size for cooking.
Once you get past the tough orange skin, the tender flesh is just what you want for pies, breads, soups and stews.
We grew enough pumpkins that we should have a few to hollow and use as bowls to fill with curried pumpkin soup or a pumpkin risotto.
This might not be the most practical application, but it gets an A-plus in presentation.
Of course, you don’t have to grow your own pumpkins or squash to try them in some recipes. Squash can easily be interchanged for pumpkin in the following dishes. Delicious, small “pie” pumpkins and fall squash can be found all around Tulsa, from Carmichael’s in Bixby to Pleasant Valley Farms in Sand Springs, where you’ll find a good variety of both grown as much for taste as front door décor.
This Martha Stewart recipe is another favorite using fresh acorn squash. It’s great for dinner with roasted pork or chicken.
Roasted Squash with Shallots and Sage
Makes 4 servings
4 pounds squash
4 shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel skin from squash, remove seeds and cut into 2-inch chunks. Divide squash, shallots, oil and sage between two large rimmed baking sheets; season with salt and pepper, and toss.
Roast until squash is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, tossing once and rotating sheets halfway through.
I love this recipe, adapted from Carolyne Roehm’s “Fall Notebook.” She tops her risotto with caramelized pecans, made by combining 1 tablespoon sugar with a pinch of salt, and stirring and cooking until the sugar is dissolved. She then adds 1/3 cup chopped pecans, stirring until coated, about 3 minutes. Spread the nuts on a sheet of foil to cool.
Makes 4 servings
6 to 7 cups chicken stock
3-inch cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely chopped shallots
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups coarsely grated fresh pumpkin or butternut squash (easiest to shred in a food processor)
1 pound (2 cups) Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, heat chicken stock and cinnamon stick over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, and keep stock warm.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons butter with olive oil. Add shallots, and saute a few minutes until soft. Add grated pumpkin or squash, season with salt and pepper, and saute for another few minutes. Add rice and stir until grains are coated with pumpkin/squash mixture.
Add wine to rice mixture, and stir until liquid is absorbed. Begin adding hot stock ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and making sure all liquid is absorbed before next addition.
Continue adding stock until the rice is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Taste for flavor and consistency, adding salt or pepper, and adding more stock if needed. Remove from heat, and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
This recipe is fun to make for a Halloween party.
Pumpkin Stew Baked in a Pumpkin
Makes 8 servings
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup beef broth
¼ cup water
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 medium carrots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 can (about 14 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pumpkin (about 10 pounds)
In a Dutch oven, brown meat in 2 tablespoons oil. Add broth, water, potatoes, carrots, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Stir in tomatoes.
Wash pumpkin, and cut an 8-inch circle from the top around the stem, saving stem. Scoop and remove seeds and loose flesh from inside pumpkin.
Place pumpkin on a shallow sturdy baking pan. Spoon stew into pumpkin, and replace top. Brush outside of pumpkin with a little oil. Bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours or just until the pumpkin is tender. Serve stew from pumpkin, scooping out a little pumpkin with each serving.