Monday, November 09, 2015

Pumpkin Stew atop Quinoa Noodles with Pear (Almost No Added Fat, Gluten-Free)

I had good experiences with a pumpkin stew that I made two days before Halloween and thought I'd try using a pie pumpkin that I purchased a few days ago as a base for another dish. I usually cook with no added fat, but tonight thought I'd try using a little peanut butter, reminiscent of a stew that I made two years ago, as well an another stew that I made in August 2012.

Peanut butter has 15g of fat in 2T and I was cooking for three, so I figured, to keep each serving down to about 3g of fat, I'd use almost 2T, since I expected there to be leftovers. In fact, about a third was leftover, so this dish really was enough for 4, or, since other ingredients didn't contribute much fat, a bit less than 4g of fat. I'll classify it as "almost no added fat".

  • Small pie pumpkin (mine fit into the pressure cooker but, otherwise, I'd first cut it into smaller pieces so it would fit; it should end up, after being cut up, to be about 6 cups of pumpkin)
  • A cup of water (enough to be below the steamer basket)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, roasted and cut into 3/8" cubes (about 1 1/2 cups; I fire roasted till charred, put into a small brown paper bag and crinkled the bag shut, then maybe 10m later, removed the pepper, rinsed the charred skin off, cut in half, removed membranes and seeds, then chopped)
  • 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, finely (1/8") diced (about a teaspoonful)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • Spices to taste as with the earlier pumpkin stew (my suggested starting point is in parentheses): salt (1/4 t), ground cumin seed (1/8 to 1/4 t), cinnamon (just a pinch), and tarragon (1/8 t), but skipping garlic powder (1/2 t), since I used fresh garlic), as well as 1/4 t turmeric - cook with 1/8 cup water 2m
  • 1c marinara sauce
  • 1/4 t oregano
  1. I put the pumpkin atop a steamer basket and the cup of water in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  2. I waited a few minutes then slowly let out remaining pressure. When the pumpkin was cool enough to handle, I cut in half, scooped out the seeds, and removed the skin with a knife. I cut the flesh into 3/4" cubes and found that the pumpkin wasn't quite done; I guess the 6m cook time may have been enough for the chopped pumpkin but not intact.
  3. I rinsed the pot of the pressure cooker, removing the steamer insert, then put the pumpkin pieces, as well as all of the other ingredients except marinara and oregano, into the pot and cooked for 2 minutes.
  4. I waited till pressure decreased, then opened the Instant Pot. The dish was good but needed a bit more flavor. I added the cup of marinara (acidic sauces, to me, ask for more salt, so I also added a pinch more salt) and oregano, and was pleased with the result.
I made some quinoa pasta and served the pumpkin mix atop it. I wanted to serve tomato wedges as well, but we only had a small tomato, so I used pear. I guess it was appropriate because just a few hours earlier I was teaching a middle school food class and had my students doing a challenge of inventing both a raw and a cooked dish just out of fruit.


Wow, the main course came out great! I like the subtle taste of peanut butter and the thickening that it provided to the dish. I added hot sauce at the table, and the pumpkin benefited from the "kick".

Ideas for the future

I was very pleased with this. I wonder if I had pressure steamed the intact pumpkin for 3 or so more minutes if it would have been well cooked. On the other hand, I like how things worked out with the pumpkin not quite done and then letting it cook a bit more with other ingredients. I should explore more cooking with just a touch of peanut or other nut butter.

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