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Pumpkin Curry, Courtesy District Distilling.JPG
Japanese pumpkin is the star of this spicy curry on the menu at District Distilling Co. Instead of pairing the kabocha with typical fall flavors, this dish relies on bright and fragrant Thai ingredients. (Image: Courtesy District Distilling)

Local chefs share pumpkin recipes that don't involve a pie dish (part three)

Pumpkins steal the spotlight as the most picture-perfect winter squash, but they can do so much more than decorate your coffee table or wear a toothless grin on your front stoop. They deserve just as much love in the kitchen, where they’re often relegated to a basic pumpkin pie that only comes out once a year.

Over the next few days, we will share our three-part series that looks at how you can make the most of your pumpkin purchases this season. For the final segment, we are sharing two entrees that will knock your socks off!

Pumpkin Curry from Chef Justin Bittner of District Distilling Co.

Japanese pumpkin is the star of this spicy curry on the menu at District Distilling Co. Instead of pairing the kabocha with typical fall flavors, this dish relies on bright and fragrant Thai ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. galangal, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric root, chopped
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 can Thai coconut milk
  • 1 c. vegetable stock
  • 1 6-inch piece lemongrass, sliced paper thin
  • 1 lb. Japanese pumpkin (kabocha squash), peeled and chunked
  • 4 oz. roasted Japanese pumpkin (kabocha squash), for garnish
  • 4 oz. blanched green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

For Garnish:

  • Cilantro, torn
  • Thai basil
  • Scallions, thinly sliced
  • Roasted salted peanuts
  • Jasmine rice, cooked
  • Green Thai chili, chopped

Method:

  1. Fry shallot, galangal, ginger, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass in oil until fragrant.
  2. Add coconut milk and vegetable stock, heat until simmering.
  3. Add Japanese pumpkin and let cook until tender.
  4. Finish with blanched green beans.
  5. Ladle onto four plates evenly and garnish with roasted Japanese pumpkin. Mold jasmine rice into small bowl and top plates. Garnish with cilantro, Thai basil, scallions, salted roasted peanuts, and Thai chili to taste.

Pumpkin Mussels from Chef Sebastien Rondier of BRABO Tasting Room

BRABO Tasting Room’s signature mussels are given a fall makeover with roasted pumpkin, garlic, brown butter, and shaved fennel. It’s an upscale dish that is surprisingly easy to make at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. mussels
  • 5 oz. diced pumpkin
  • 1 oz. white wine
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • ½ dried bay leaf
  • 1 oz. brown butter
  • 1 baby fennel, shaved
  • 1 oz. olive oil
  • ½ oz. unsalted butter
  • 2 pinches ground fennel
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Note from Chef Rondier: “Select slightly glossy mussels with a fresh, sea smell that have closed shells or shells that close when tapped lightly on a counter. This means they’re still alive. Mussels that do not close when tapped are dead or dehydrated, neither of which will taste good and should be tossed out.”

Method:

  1. In a heat-proof casserole dish or Dutch oven, heat olive oil and sauté garlic, thyme, bay leaf, ground fennel, shallots, and pumpkin for seven minutes until all is well caramelized.
  2. Add mussels and white wine and season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Cover and let cook slowly for about five minutes or until the mussels start to open, then add the brown butter and fresh butter.
  4. Finish with shaved fennel and cover for an additional two minutes.
  5. Serve with French fries or your favorite crusty bread.
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