Autumn ushers in a time to indulge in pumpkin desserts, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin ale and all things pumpkin. I’m already craving the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a friend is making for a party this evening. But even as I feast upon pumpkin everything, I want to make sure I’m still:
a) making healthy choices, and
b) enjoying some of my favorite main course meals.
A recipe-find earlier this week, for Butternut Squash Kale Tacos, answered both A and B and could be made using pumpkins. Yes, it can be done! The recipe is healthy because the kale boosts your fiber, folate, protein and vitamin A, C and K intake, just to name a few of its many benefits. And the tacos, as everyone knows, boost your “Party On” factor.
I modified this recipe to include pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Taking a cue from Wolff’s chef Chuck Smith, who blends pumpkin and chipotle in one of Wolff’s best-loved soups, I made a chipotle-guajillo salsa to go with this. Guajillos bring a mild chile flavor to the mix, and chipotle peppers kick the salsa up a notch with their delightful smokiness and spice.
I do have one confession about this recipe. A few weeks ago, I’d purchased a pie pumpkin on impulse, just because it was pumpkin season and it looked so festive and bright. I displayed it on our mantle, giving it a home among our picture frames. When it came time to make this recipe, though, I took out a huge knife and diced my lovely pumpkin. I have to say, it felt wrong to make that first slice, like eating a pet, or a treasured heirloom. “Will you be cooking any of our picture frames tomorrow night?” my husband asked. No, and perhaps I need to go get another pumpkin just to look at this time. (I promise, pumpkin, I promise.)
Whether you make use of an edible pumpkin you’ve purchased beforehand or buy one specifically for eating, you’re sure to enjoy this weirdly wonderful recipe that blends seasonal produce and delicious spices.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ cups sweet potato, diced
- ¾ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1½ cups diced cooking pumpkin (such as cheese pumpkin, hubbard squash or crookneck squash)
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- salt, to taste
- 3 cups kale, chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 3 canned chipotle peppers
- 3 dried guajillo chiles
- kosher salt, to taste
- 4-6 corn tortillas, warmed
- ½ cup Crema Mexicana mixed with a dash of cumin
- ⅓ cup pepitas naturales or pumpkin seeds, toasted
- FILLING: Saute onion and sweet potato in olive oil until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add pumpkin and saute about 8 minutes, until pumpkin and sweet potato are soft. Mix in cumin, chile powder and salt. Add kale after scrunching it in your hand to soften it. Cook kale about 1 minute until just wilted.
- SALSA: Prepare dried guajillo chiles by simmering in a full pot of water (so that chiles are covered) for about 10 minutes or until they are soft. Roast tomatoes and garlic at 450°F in a glass pan lined with foil. Stir the tomatoes, remove the garlic when it has blackened, and continue to cook the tomatoes until they are soft and start to blacken, about 20 min. Add guajillo chiles, tomatoes, garlic, and chipotle peppers to blender and process until chopped but still chunky.