Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin with Cilantro, Chickpeas, and Thyme

I should be posting something from this past week, which has been stuffed, one might say, like a turkey (or perhaps, like a homemade ravioli) with collective cooking and shared food...starting with a homemade pasta party on Sunday and continuing through yesterday with a vaguely Thanskgiving-themed gourmet feast.

But all this will have to wait, because, as everyone knows, the first question that pops into your head after you've cleared out your houseguests and leftovers and emerged from your post-Thanksgiving food coma several hours or days later is: Can I eat that? And if you're gazing at the pie pumpkin you bought up at Apple Hill several weeks ago because it looked like it would make a nice autumn-evoking centerpiece, the answer is a resounding and emphatic YES.

1 smallish pumpkin (ours was a pie pumpkin about 8-9 inches in diameter, or substitute an heirloom or butternut squash)
Olive oil
2 small yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 large jalapeno, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
A big handful of cilantro, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup veggie broth
1 tbsp brown sugar (or less if using a sweeter squash)
2 cups well-cooked chickpeas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds, and rub cut sides with a little olive oil. Roast face-down for 25-40 minutes or until just tender, turning heat down to 375 if it starts to get too brown. Let cool until it's easy to handle, then cut into 1-inch slices, peel, and cube.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large, wide pan with deep sides over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and saute until soft. Add the jalapeno, cook for another minute or two, then add the garlic. Saute for half a minute and then add the pumpkin, thyme, a pinch of salt, and a little more olive oil. Stir to coat.

After sauteing for another minute or two, add the cilantro and 1/4 cup of the broth, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cover the pan. Simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors blend, and until the pumpkin is soft, adding more broth if it starts to dry out.

Next, add the brown sugar, another pinch of salt, and a dash of black pepper, and use a potato masher to gently mash the squash to form a coarse puree. Fold in the chickpeas and cook for another few minutes until heated through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with cilantro.

Goes well with brown basmati rice simmered with cumin and saffron.

Serves 4.

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