Yeah yeah, I know, it’s October. Pumpkins and apples and ghosts (OH MY). I guess it’s finally time to write the dreaded pumpkin post.
It’s not that I don’t like pumpkin. I do, a lot, actually. It’s the permeation of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING that drives me crazy, mostly because it always starts before actual autumn begins. Also, I ABHOR pumpkin spice lattes. Sorry folks, but I’ll pass. Keep your cloves and nutmeg out of my frackin’ coffee! Blech.
But pumpkin itself, actual pumpkin, can be so delicious in so many different ways. (Actually, any varietal of winter squash is delicious to me. LOVE ME SOME SQUASH.) Last year I made a pumpkin chili that was delicious, and this year I’m trying something new: Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew. I saw the mouth-watering photo on Pinterest, and since the recipe includes all sorts of delicious things like cilantro, chickpeas, tomatoes and pumpkin, I figured it would be a cardinal sin if I didn’t give a shot, right? (Just go with it.)
The first thing I had to do was adapt the recipe from metric and give it more specific units of measurement. I mean, “2 onions” can be anywhere from 2-4 cups on diced onions, depending on size of the onion. I generally buy monster Spanish onions which yield about 2 cups. The original recipe is VERY health conscious, and it contained no added fat or salt, so I decided to add some healthy fat in the form of olive oil. So here goes!
Spicy Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew
- 2 tbsp olive oil (not in the original recipe)
- 2 cups onions, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper (this makes it decently spicy, if you don’t like spicy, swap for sweet paprika)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 red peppers, sliced
- 1 pumpkin, cut into 1″ cubes (my pumpkin was about the size of my head, and yielded about 1000 grams of pumpkin once I cut off the ends, peeled it and scooped out the seeds)
- 2 15.5 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice
- about a cup of water
- Black pepper
- Large handful of chopped coriander (cilantro if you’re American)
- 1 lemon, wedged
Gather thine ingredients, peasant! (Okay, sorry, I let my imagination run away with me for a second there.)
Dice your onion. Cry about it a little. Seriously, I think this bag of onions was made with mustard gas, because this onion acted like a chemical weapon. In a big pot over medium heat, add the oil and toss in those onions. In the meantime, mince your garlic (or if you’re lazy like me, smash it with the side of a knife and then chop it up like you’re one of those hibachi chefs) and slice your pepper. Measure out your spices and put them in an awesome teeny bowl. Open your tomatoes and chickpeas. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Tell all that stuff to just chill on the counter while you deal with this orange monstrosity.
Tackle the pumpkin. Or try to. Then realize you have no idea how you’re even going to start. Have your logical brain kick in and say “Hey stupid, you should probably peel it.” Duh. Cut off the stem and and a tiny bit at the base, then peel it with a Y-peeler, because I think it might be impossible to peel it with a “regular” vegetable peeler. Why do they make those anyway? They suck! Y-peelers rule! It’s anarchy up in here! Then, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds, but DO NOT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THROW THEM AWAY. Once you get the slimy gunk off of them and toast them up? DELICIOUS SNACKAGE. Then cube that baby into approximately 1-inch pieces. Because, well, because they cook faster at that size. Science says so. DEAL WITH IT.
Add the garlic to the onions, along with the peppers. Let those cook for a few minutes, then add the pumpkins and spices. Cook all that for 3-4 minutes to let the spices bloom, then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and a bit of water. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Add some black pepper because you forgot to do that earlier. (Seriously, this is REAL LIFE, not some cooking show. Just go with it.) Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until pumpkin is tender, adding water if necessary. (It will smell amazing, and you will have a hard time not eating it before it’s cooked. Entertain yourself by feeding small bits of cooked leftover pumpkin to your dog.)
Wedge the lemon by cutting the pointy ends off and cutting into quarters. Set aside. Chop the cilantro coarsely, and add about 1/4 cup of cilantro to the stew to finish it. Let it cook for another minute, and then it’s DONE! Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro and a wedge of lemon for a-squeezin’ on top! Yum!
NOTE: You may have noticed this recipe does not include salt. You may be tempted to add salt. Please take my advice and taste it first. I thought it would need it, but the spices make it so it doesn’t. Your taste may vary and you may find you like salt, and that’s fine, but just give it a little taste before you add it. (Plus canned tomatoes and chickpeas often have salt in them already, so you’re good there.)
There are a myriad of ways to enjoy the fruits of fall (yes, pumpkins are fruits) other than a pumpkin spice latte (many of which do not contain any actual PUMPKIN). In fact, this past Monday I made these delicious and HEALTHY Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies from leelalicious.com!
So, no, I do not hate pumpkin, not at all. But you’ll never catch me ordering a stinkin’ pumpkin spice latte.
It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned how much I appreciate your readership! I truly do. Without you guys and gals, I’d just be writing sweet nothings into cyberspace. Or aggravating my coworkers with kvetching about pumpkin spice lattes. The usual. I hope you enjoy reading my blog, as I enjoy writing for you! If you like it, and you’re able, please consider helping to support this blog. Below you’ll find a myriad of ways you can help me keep this thing rolling. Every little bit helps!
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Thanks everyone! Happy Pumpkining!