Spring Pumpkins

Matt and I were eating dinner last night and commenting on how long our pumpkins have lasted when I looked over and spied a spot of mold!  Well, it is April, after all!  I cut off the moldy bit, cut it in half and scooped out the seeds for the chooks.  For lack of a better plan, I baked it in the oven.

I don’t normally think of pumpkin as a spring food, but with their keeping capabilities, we might be relying on them even more this coming year.  So, what to do with it?  I mean, you can only eat so much pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread or pumpkin cookies, especially when sugar is short.

I can’t help think back to a time when I was travelling in Africa and became stuck in a tiny village when the truck I was riding in broke down.  My travelling companions and I found ourselves camped out behind Chung’s Bar, the only restaurant in town, which only served chicken and rice.  I wasn’t up for eating chicken at the time, so I went to the market and the only vegetable I could find was a pumpkin.  We had one pot and a little propane stove, so I cooked something resembling steamed pumpkin.  It wasn’t that exciting, but it was fresh and heavenly compared to the greasy chicken the others were eating, and I’ve been a fan of pumpkin ever since.

But tonight I found a new recipe that was a far cry from the primitive pumpkin dinner I ate behind Chung’s Bar.  Pumpkin Flan with Sauteed Greens and Red Wine Shallot Sauce.  It was in Deborah Maddison’s cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone, which is one of my favorites.  It was delightful.  Thank goodness I still have one pumpkin left!!

Pumpkin Flan with Sauteed Greens and Red Wine Shallot Sauce

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • dash of milk
  • dash of cumin, cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and pour into two lightly buttered ramekins.  Set the ramekins into a a baking dish, pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins, and bake them in a 370 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Pull them out of the oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan.  When hot, add three sliced shallots and several rounds fresh ground pepper.  Let shallots cook until soft and golden and then add 3/4 cup red wine.  Simmer and reduce by half, turn off the heat, and add another tablespoon butter and a few drops balsamic vinegar.

Sautee 3 cups chopped mixed greens in butter and season with salt. ( I used half a package of frozen kale.)

To serve, invert flans onto a plate, surround with greens, and top with sauce.  It is as beautiful as it is delicious, and only takes about 45 minutes to make!

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