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Recipe: Curried Pumpkin Stew

Delicious.

Inspired by a menu board I passed in a local lunch dive last month and the abundance of warm autumn weather, I decided to concoct something involving pumpkins this past weekend. I included my current obsession with curry and really hit one out of the park

I won't beat around the bush - this dish is phenomenal. Sweet, aromatic, full bodied, warm and filling with just enough spice to wake up the taste buds for more. This is everything I love in a hearty bowl on a cool evening. I hope you'll find it to be just as wonderful. The software:
  • 16 oz pumpkin puree - unsweetened / additive free if you can find it or make it yourself
  • 32 oz unsalted chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian types)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 medium potatoes, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 parsnips, thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, finely minced
  • 1 pint of half & half (or heavy cream if you're going for the gold)
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbl sweet curry powder
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbl butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Sate seasoning to taste
For all the dry goods, I use and recommend Penzey's. From my experience, their dried herb and spice products are extremely potent and my recipes are calibrated accordingly. [1] The process: Give yourself about 90 minutes from start to serve to make this one happen. Of course, having a little more time doesn't hurt either, as time is the most important ingredient in any recipe. Pour the pumkin puree, chicken or vegetable stock, soy and honey into your favorite suitably sized soup pot and fire it up on medium heat, stirring to combine. Take a knife to the potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onions and stir it all into the pot. Cook for 30 minutes or so until the vegetables reach your desired tenderness. Add in the curry, aleppo pepper, black pepper, turmeric and garlic, stirring to combine and turn the heat down to a simmer. Temper the cream or half & half into the stew, continuing to stir until everything is a consistent color. Add more turmeric if you want to brighten the orange color more and stir in the butter to give everything a great shine. Leave the pot on simmer for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in juice from half a fresh lemon. let sit for 5 minutes and then serve. Goes great with a hunk of warm sourdough baguette. The bolder amongst you can add Sate and additional curry to suit their tastes. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my friends and I have. Please do leave your experiences and suggestions in the comments. -///
[1] If your spice collection came from the sun-drenched end cap of your grandmother's grocery store, you may need to double or triple the amount of dry goods to get close in flavor. Better yet, throw the pencil shavings out and replace 'em with Penzey's. And no, they don't pay me.
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

The Curried Bacon Experiment

A bacon-centric discussion on Facebook with old friend, fellow foodie and Master of Bacon, Mr. Bob Herz, led my culinary curiosity down the path of uses for curries outside the accepted North American pseudo-Indian norm. Sugar Coma's Sara Nicholas had successfully integrated curry and dark chocolate for one of her truffle recipes, could the melding of curry and bacon be as tasty? It's a big gamble to take on an entire run of bacon, which is where this little experiment comes in. Thursday evening I thawed some un-smoked bacon I had on hand, laid out six strips and rubbed Penzey's sweet curry on both sides, pressed them flat in to sheets of cling wrap and set them in the fridge. Sunday afternoon I pulled the bacon from the chill and cool smoked three strips with pecan and three with hickory, then fried each of the test subjects up and placed them on paper towels as usual to drip and cool. The results: In both the Pecan and the Hickory smoked samples, the flavors of the curry were completely lost. This is probably due to the permeable fat which was holding the most curry flavor melting off in the fry pan. The experiment is not without merit, however, as the pecan smoked bacon was absolutely incredible. I had never used Pecan wood before this, so it was new territory for me. The soft pecan flavoring on the bacon had an almost buttery, sweet quality and it really compliments the pork well.
in the pan

in the pan

Back to the drawing board with the curry end of things, but I'm excited to charge ahead with a big batch of pecan smoked bacon to share in the near future. -///
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.