Last update: 12-Dec-2013 3:15 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Praise the powerful pumpkin
Pumpkin is a West Indian staple vegetable, and one of my favourites. Thinking about it, I would find it hard to survive a pumpkin shortage. I use it in my callaloo, in place of crab or meat; it adds a smooth texture and wonderful sweetness. I add it to my stewed peas, for added thickness. I include it in my pelau recipe for lovely moistness. It’s added to pone for moistness of texture. There are many culinary benefits to using pumpkin in a recipe but it can be a star all on its own.
The mild flavour and beautiful texture of this vegetable makes it shine in pumpkin bread, soup, vegetable gratins, pancakes and even cakes. There are many different types, the local favourite bring Crapaud back pumpkin, or rough skinned pumpkin, aptly named because of its resemblance to the skin of a crapaud. But beneath this tough, knobby and thick skin lies a magnificent orange-fleshed vegetable which when cooked is smooth, firm and wonderfully delicious.
SENSATIONAL PUMPKIN GRATIN
2 lbs pumpkin, peeled and cut into one inch chunks
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 large onion. finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs
2 tbs flour
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
For the gratin
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Lightly steam pumpkin for about six to eight minutes, until cooked but firm.
Heat oil in a saucepan; add onion, garlic, peppers and herbs. Sauté until fragrant.
Add flour and cook for a few minutes.
Combine stock with milk. Add to pot and stir until thick, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Lightly butter a glass-baking dish, place pumpkin and pour sauce on.
Combine all ingredients and sprinkle onto pumpkin.
Sprinkle with gratin and bake until bubbly.
1/2 cup unsalted butter or shortening
11/2 cups brown sugar
3 cups shredded uncooked pumpkin
2/3 cup water
31/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cups raisins
2/3 cups coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease bottoms only of two loaf pans, 9x5x3 inches.
In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy.
Add eggs one at a time and continue beating until light coloured.
Add pumpkin and water, blend.
In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
Add to pumpkin mixture, mix until just combined.
Stir in nuts, raisins and half the pumpkin seeds.
Pour into pans.
Sprinkle with remaining seeds.
Bake until wooden pick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes.
Cool slightly, and loosen sides of loaves from pans.
Remove from pans and cool completely before slicing.
To store wrap and refrigerate no longer than 10 days or freeze.
Makes two loaves
1 lb cassava, grated
1 dried coconut, grated
1/4 lb pumpkin, grated
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsps butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp bitters
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a mixing bowl, combine cassava, coconut, pumpkin and sugar.
Rub butter into mixture until it becomes like breadcrumbs.
Add cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and black pepper.
Combine bitters with water and add to mixture. Stir well; mixture should be moist.
Grease an eight inch square baking pan, spoon mixture into pan and press down making it smooth on the surface.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until brown and mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from oven and cool in pan.
Cut into squares.
Serves about 10 to 12
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