Pumpkin Stew with Fresh Chiles & Feta Cheese


Yours in good taste, © Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.  http://nancyguppy.com/  Visit my blog for the ingredients and method with photographs to help with the "how to"  http://chapmanslanding.blogspot.ca/

I am making this hearty, comforting pumpkin dish tonight.  It is one of my daughter's favourites and it reheats well.  I use pumpkin and squash interchangeably in most recipes depending on what I have on hand.  Use fresh and not canned pumpkin which is pureed. Alternately, a good substitute is a dense orange squash like butternut.  The original recipe was from Peru and it was made with serrano peppers which are 5 times hotter than jalapenos.  


ORGANIC INGREDIENTS

Makes six servings about 300 grams each

1 Tbsp (15 ml) sunflower or other neutral oil like grapseed

1 cup (250 ml) onion, raw, chopped - I use red

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 fresh cayenne, serrano or jalapeno pepper, minced (to taste) - I used 2 dried cayenne

2 potatoes, with skin, raw, cut into cubes - I prefer red potatoes but any will do

8 cups (2 liters) pumpkin, raw, cubes (or squash or sweet potatoes)

1/4 cup (60 ml) water - add more as necessary

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk or cream (coconut milk works if you need a non-dairy version)

1 cup (250 ml) Ontario cheese like brebis, feta or semi-soft goat cheese (skip cheese for non-dairy or vegan version)

1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) sea salt  1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) black pepper, freshly ground

1/2 cup (125 ml) cilantro, fresh, minced (or parsley, oregano)


METHOD:

1.  Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Saute chopped onion, minced garlic and chiles until soft and fragrant.  I used a few of my dried garden cayenne peppers.

2.   Scrub potatoes but leave the skins on for extra fibre and nutrition.  Dice into bite-size squares.

3.  Peel and cut fresh pumpkin (or squash) into cubes.  I use a very sharp chef's knife to split the pumpkin in half and set aside the seeds to dry for the summer garden.  I cut it into strips, peel and cube as below.  It is a bit of work but worth the effort.   I save my vegetable scraps in a bag and freeze them.  I will use them later to make a fragrant vegetable broth.  Pumpkin is really nice in vegetable stocks as it imparts a sweet flavour and golden colour.

4.  Add diced raw pumpkin and potatoes with water to the skillet.  Cover and cook over medium low heat until the pumpkin and potatoes are tender.  I cooked mine 10 minutes and thought it was too long.  I like the pumpkin a bit less mushy.

5. Stir in the milk (or cream) and crumbled cheese and heat through.  I used goat cheese in tonight's version but I usually use feta.  It would also be good with the Brie, Brebis or Camembert cheese.  Brebis to me is the French equivalent to feta - a creamy, soft, unripened cheese made with sheep's milk.  PC brand is 26% MF and very delicious. If you want a dairy free version you can use coconut milk and skip the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with fresh minced cilantro.  You can substitute fresh or dried oregano and/or parsley instead of the cilantro. 


Don't toss the pumpkin seeds! You can dry them to plant in this summer's garden or toast them for a tasty snacks. I will sit down and remove the "gunk" and spread them out on a tea towel to air dry. I have good results and rarely have to buy pumpkin seeds. I also save the seeds from any organic squash I buy at the store and grow some for myself. Roast the seeds in a 350'F oven on a lightly oiled pan until lightly brown and toasted.

NUTRITION FACTS: pumpkin is a nutritious, versatile vegetable that is very good in cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie, savoury quiche, soup, stews and casseroles.  The dark orange vegetables like pumpkin, winter squash, sweet potatoes and carrots outshines all others in beta carotene which our body converts to vitamin A. Research has found that a diet rich in beta-carotene can reduce your risk of developing certain cancers and helps prevent heart disease. Beta-carotene also maintains good vision and fights infection. They are also packed with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins B6, C and K as well as calcium, potassium and folate. The flesh of the pumpkin is lower in calories and carbohydrate compared to sweet potatoes.  


Per 300 g/approximately 1 cup serving of the casserole has: 190 calories, 9 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 3 g fibre, 5 g sugar, 7 g protein.  % Daily Values are 60% vitamin A, 45% vitamin C, 20% calcium and 10% iron.

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