As far as I’m concerned, the best thing about stew is that it has all the benefits of soup, plus it’s hearty enough to fill you up as a meal. Recently I was perusing recipes on SparkPeople and found one for Spiced pumpkin soup. It gave me an idea: why not use pumpkin as the base for a warm and filling fall stew?
Before we get to that, though, I have to tell you about my latest shopping trip. I met up with a good friend at the fabulous outlet mall in Aurora, IL, last weekend. We had such a great time shopping all day in beautiful weather. I had one little dilemma. There was a gorgeous gray purse in the Kate Spade outlet that was 50% off. I have never actually owned a designer handbag before, and while this purse was still well, well above what I normally pay for purses, it actually seemed like a fairly doable splurge.
So, I was thinking about it and weighing my options when we wandered into Le Creuset. They had some of their beautiful, long-coveted-by-me dutch ovens on sale. I have never seen their classic cast iron pieces on sale before, and these were some good deals. Now, this is the part where you start to think I am a hopeless nerd, and while that may be the case, I’m ok with it. I sacrificed that beautiful gray handbag for a beautiful, glossy, dark blue, cast-iron dutch oven.
I also picked up a couple of new rubber spatulas, because 1. they were on sale, and 2. the guy working there told me something I never knew about them. I always knew they were heat resistant, but it never occurred to me to actually use them in a pot or frying pan. Apparently they do just fine up to 800 degrees! So, while I may be a bit of a geek about kitchen stuff (and, let’s face it, a lot of other stuff), the fact that you are still reading this seems to indicate that you may be the same. In which case, let’s be friends.
Anyway, on to the pumpkin stew, since that’s likely the real reason you’re here. This wonderful treat offers the added bonus of staying yummy in the refrigerator. I had some leftovers for lunch and found that it only got better with age. Also, the flavors hold up to cooking incredibly well–you can taste individual ingredients in each bite. The night I made this, we had an all-pumpkin meal that featured Pumpkin bread pudding for dessert. If you decide to go that route, you can remove the required amount of pumpkin for the bread pudding and use the rest of the can in your stew.
Inspired by SparkPeople’s Spiced Pumpkin Soup recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 c chopped onion
- 1 c celery, chopped
- 1/8 c whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp salt, plus more for cooking potatoes
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb chicken breast cutlets, diced
- 2 tbsp dry white wine
- 4 c sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 large can (29 oz) pumpkin
- 1 container (32 oz) organic chicken broth
- 1 c whole milk
- dash of chipotle pepper seasoning (more or less to taste)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Warm oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cover for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften.
- Add flour and mix well, then add chicken and all seasonings (except chipotle powder). Mix well to combine, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to cook until chicken completely loses its pink color. Deglaze with wine to remove any bits of flour that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- When chicken is cooked, add broth, sweet potato, and pumpkin. Mix well and add about another tsp of salt to help potatoes cook. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer (partially covered) for 30 minutes. If potatoes are not beginning to soften after about 20 minutes of simmering, add a bit more salt. Potatoes should be fork-tender but not falling apart by the time you are done simmering.
- Stir in milk, garlic, and chipotle seasoning. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. I sprinkled in a little more ginger here as well. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until all flavors are thoroughly combined.