Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin - It's Not Just For Pie Anymore

And now for something completely different... a recipe.  This past weekend my wife and I went to Cascade, Maryland to visit with our friend Bridget.  While there, we decided to enter a pumpkin baking contest that was part of a festival going on in town.  I know, not exactly edgy and rock and roll, but whatever.  Since I figured (correctly) that everyone else would be entering the usual pumpkin pies, cakes, breads and cookies, I decided to do something different:  chicken enchiladas in a pumpkin sauce.  Although one of the three judges was clearly impressed (I saw him go back for seconds), the other two seemed less so.  Long story short, I did not place.  Bridget actually won first prize with a pumpkin pecan roll and my wife got third with her gluten-free pumpkin cake.  If you want those recipes you'll have to talk to them.  If you're feeling adventurous, though, here's my recipe.  I make no claims that this is "authentic" Mexican cooking.  It's just something fun I came up with, and I personally think it tastes pretty damn good. 

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cumin


1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small white onion, diced
2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
1 cup of water
1 tsp ancho chili powder
2 roasted poblanos, sliced
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
½ cup heavy whipping cream

Final Touches
12 corn tortillas
8 oz. shredded Chihuahua cheese

Poach (fancy word for boil) chicken breast until cooked through. Allow to cool in refrigerator. When cool, shred chicken, season with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp cumin and set aside.

Roast the poblanos.  Easiest way to do this is in the broiler.  Cover the broiler pan with aluminum foil.  Cut poblanos in half and place cut side down on pan.  Broil for about five minutes.  The skin should be black and the flesh of the peppers nice and soft.  Put the peppers in cold water and peel off the skin.  Dice the peeled peppers and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dice onion and garlic. Heat oil in large dutch oven or sauce pan. When oil is hot, saut√© onions and garlic until onions become translucent. Add pumpkin, water, peppers and spices to pan. Bring to boil, then add ½ cup cream to the sauce and mix well. The sauce should be fairly thick but still thin enough that it will pour over the enchiladas easily.  Reduce heat to warm and cover until needed.  By the way, although I think fresh pumpkin tastes better, it's a pain in the ass to puree enough to work with in a sauce.  Unless you have a good food processor that can handle it, I'd say use canned.

Steam tortillas or microwave them for a few seconds, whatever you prefer just so long as they are soft and warm. Take about 2 tbsps of shredded chicken and place on tortillas. Roll tortillas and place in large metal or glass baking dish. Pour sauce over enchiladas in baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, until cheese is melted.

For my vegan friends, instead of chicken try filling the enchiladas with black beans or whatever else you like.  Omit the cheese and cream, and if necessary add a little more water to the sauce.

1 comment:

Camevil said...

Mmmm...this was by far the best dish in the contest and we were fortunate to enjoy this dish on our own that night. This is definitely a keeper in the Bobzilla recipe file.

Diced potatoes might also be a good filling, methinks, with the poblanoes. Maybe spinach too?