Happy Leftover Pumpkin Season!
Editor’s Note: If you’re anything like us, you’re finding this manic Monday particularly difficult, as you sit among a pile of empty candy wrappers and turning-bad pumpkin, wondering how the hell it got to be November already. Fortunately, Alex is on hand with some tips about how to use up all that leftover pumpkin before Thanksgiving rolls around:
As per my seasonal tradition, I got really psyched to make pumpkin cookies a few weeks ago. (Note: butter does NOT work as well as shortening in pumpkin cookies. Disaster.) Under normal circumstances, I would normally have only bought a small can of pumpkin for this endeavor, but presumably because those New Hampshire fall colors just make you want to eat something orange, they were all out of the little cans. So I had to buy the 16-oz. can, but since I was not going to make a hundred cookies, I needed to figure out what else to do with all this leftover canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin bread was the first and most obvious choice, but I wanted to get a little more creative, so to the Internets I went, and ended up with two new pumpkin dishes: curry pumpkin soup (inspired by a recipe at pumpkinnook.com) and pumpkin pizza. Yes, pumpkin pizza.
The pumpkin pizza was regular savory white pizza dough made by Mike, my pizza dough guru friend who fires up the outdoor community oven occasionally and bakes mouth-watering pies (as well as tons of bread to give to a local charity fighting hunger here in NH.)
We subbed in pumpkin puree for the tomato sauce, topped it with goat cheese and baked for a few minutes, until the crust was golden. Depending what other toppings and spices you use, the pumpkin could be a base for a savory or a sweet pizza. The goat cheese worked out for a nice sweeter pizza, although I think gorgonzola might be even better, and I bet some garlic wouldn’t hurt. (When does garlic ever hurt?)
Next up was pumpkin soup:
I took this to my friend Dana’s birthday potluck and it had everyone reeling. (I mean, that could have been partly the booze, but I think it was mostly the soup.) I made some modifications to Pumpkin Nook’s recipe, because seriously, WHO thought that a teaspoon of garlic and a 1/3 cup onion was enough? I ended up with the following:
Curry Pumpkin Soup
1 chopped onion
4 small cloves garlic
1-2 tsp curry powder, depending how much you like curry
2 tbsp butter
1 c pumpkin puree, about 1/2 a small can
nutmeg – I just shook some in until it smelled nice and spicy
1 bay leaf
2 c vegetable broth
1.5 c milk (you could sub cream for part of this if you wanted, but I used 2%)
Pumpkin Nook used 1/8 tsp sugar as well, but I say leave it out; it makes it a bit too sweet. Also in the original was 1 tbsp cornstarch, but I liked it thinner and just reduced a bit. But you could add that too, if it was too thin for your taste.
Cook the onion, garlic and curry powder in the butter until onion is tender. Add the pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg and bay leaf. Stir in the broth and bring everything to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 10-15 mins. Stir in the milk and cook over low heat for about another 5-10 minutes, until it’s somewhat thickened and bubbly.
It DID turn out quite sweet, which was fine for the potluck but a little overwhelming for dinner on its own. So the next day I added some salt and pepper to the leftovers, which I really think brought out the curry flavor, and helped it be more pumpkin-y and less pumpkin-pie-y.
What are you cooking with your leftover pumpkin between Halloween and Thanksgiving?