Pumpkin Chowder

A lot of you have been asking for my recipes from culinary school and I am working on putting them all together for you.  In the meantime here is my latest culinary creation.  I had to do a presentation on a fruit or vegetable so I decided to  do my favorite Fall fruit, the Pumpkin!  Nothing like doing a 10 minute presentation on pumpkin to make me feel like real foodie geek, lol.

Part  of my presentation included a recipe demo and since this is culinary school I wanted make something using fresh pumpkin and not the pumpkin puree you find in a can.  I wouldn’t have been able to show my face in the kitchen!  I’d never eaten or cooked with fresh pumpkin but I was so surprised at how delicious this chowder is.  It’s not at all what you’d expect and doesn’t have the “pumpkin pie” flavor that we’re all used to.  It’s warm and savory with just enough spice to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Perfect for a cold Fall day.

Here are some interesting pumpkin facts I found during my research:

  • Originated in North America and first cultivated by Native Americans
  • Small pumkins are best for cooking, more tender and sweet
  • Pumpkins are 90% water
  • Entire plant is edible including the shell, leaves, seeds and flower
  • 80% of pumpkins in the US are harvested in October
  • Excellent source of Alpha & Beta carotene and fiber

P.S. – Sorry for the picture quality but I can’t bring my high powered DSLR camera to the kitchen, lol.

P.P.S. – I’m pretty sure I got an A+ 🙂

Enjoy!

♥ Nina

Ingredients

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Leeks, trimmed of tough green tops and chopped
3 large Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 1/4 pounds pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2- by 1-inch-thick pieces
1 1/2 tsp dried majoram
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 cups frozen corn
6 cups chicken broth

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in green peppers, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until peppers soften, about 8 more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.

 

Recipe adapted from Country Living

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Spicy Chili

I’ve been waiting all summer to try out this recipe.  It’s not that I don’t like the summer, but I love all the delicious food that reminds me of Fall….like Spicy Chili!  This chili is spicy, hence the name, but it won’t burn you tongue off and have you running to the water faucet.  Feel free to add more (like my Dad does) or less cayenne or chili powder depending on your preference.  I really like this recipe because you can get a lot of bang for your buck.  The ingredients are not expensive and if you are feeding a large crowd it will feed about 12 with room for leftovers.  Or in my case my family of 6 six had leftovers for an entire weekend…and no we did not get tired of eating chili, lol.

Thanks to one of my NCJ Peeps, James G., for suggesting I post this.  I aim to please!

Yield: Serves about 12

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 pound spicy turkey Italian sausage
3 (15 oz) cans chili beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can chili beans in spicy sauce
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 large white onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 green jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
2 tbsp bacon bits
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp white sugar

Directions

Brown ground beef and turkey italian sausage in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Cook until just brown.  Pour out excess fat and return pot to stove and reduce heat to low.  Add the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir until fully combined.

Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, bacon bits and bouillon.   Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar.  Stir to blend, then cover and simmer for at least 2 hours , stirring occasionally.  If you have the time I suggest simmering for at least 4 hours, the longer the better.

Taste and adjust flavor with salt, pepper and/or Tabasco sauce.  Remove from heat and serve.  If you plan to refrigerate to serve the next day, allow the chili to cool to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator.  Garnish with oyster crackers, cheese, sour cream and scallions if desired.

 

Recipe adapted from All Recipes

 

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French Onion Soup

This was so easy to make and the taste is incredible.  Just like the French onion soup you get at restaurants…probably better!

Ingredients

  • 2 Onions sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 20oz beef stock
  • 20oz chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 ½ cup Gruyere cheese grated
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 cups seasoned croutons

 

Directions

  1. Warm the oil and butter in a pot for about 1 minute or until it begins to create a white foam.  Add onions and sauté until the onions are caramelized and have a nice golden brown color.  Add oregano and basil and cook for another 2 minutes.
  2. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan by scraping the bits off the bottom.  Add remaining stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pour soup in an oven safe bowl or ramekin and place croutons on top of soup.  Add cheese on top of the croutons and place under a broiler to allow the cheese to melt.  Remove from broiler once the cheese begins to bubble and turns a golden brown.  Garnish with a little parsley or paprika and enjoy!

 

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