Washington D.C. —
Grilled Pumpkin Slices with
Makes about 40 slices
(6 to 8 servings)
The simplicity of this dish lends itself to improvisation. For a little crunch, sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top of the finished slices. For color, top with a little finely chopped parsley. For DIY crostini, serve with a plate of goat cheese and crackers. If you don't like spicy, don't use the chili powder; the flavor of the grilled pumpkin, oil and salt is divine all by itself.
The directions call for peeling the pumpkin. If you leave the skin on, the slices are more likely to hold their shape on the grill, but then you need to trim away the peel before serving the pumpkin.
MAKE AHEAD: The pumpkin slices can be grilled several hours in advance. Cover in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature. If you grill them a day in advance, do not add the olive oil, salt or chili powder. Refrigerate the grilled slices in a sealed container and serve at room temperature. Apply the oil and seasoning just before serving.
From Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin.
1 small (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) pumpkin
1/3 cup best-quality, fresh-tasting extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
Prepare the charcoal grill for direct heat. Light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly across the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 to 5 seconds. Have a spray bottle ready for taming flare-ups. Lightly coat the grill rack with vegetable oil and place it on the grill.
Carefully cut off the top and bottom of the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half, from top to bottom. Scrape out all seeds and fiber from the cavity. Use a potato peeler to remove the peel.
Cut the peeled pumpkin into slices about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Place them on a cutting board or plate. Brush lightly with some of the olive oil.
Place the slices on the grill grate; cook for about 2 minutes on each side; they should turn a caramel color with light char and be tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork (but not falling-apart tender).
Using tongs or a spatula (or both, depending on what you find works best for you), remove the slices from the grill to a platter.
(At this point, the slices can be cooled and refrigerated for up to a day; see headnote.)
Drizzle the olive oil on them. Sprinkle with salt, then chili powder. Serve warm, or cover with plastic wrap and serve later in the day at room temperature.
NUTRITION Per serving (based on 8): 100 calories, 0 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar
Smoked Pumpkin Soup with Rum Cream
8 to 10 appetizer servings or 4 to 6 main-course servings
Bursting with the warm flavors of fall, this soup is velvety and rich, a lovely starter to a several-course meal. Or, with a salad and some nice brown bread and butter, a fine entree.
You'll need to soak 1 cup of apple wood chips in water for 1 hour.
MAKE AHEAD: The pumpkin can be smoked up to 2 days in advance. Scoop out the pulp, put into a sealed container and refrigerate.
The soup recipe is from Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin; the rum cream recipe is adapted from "The Inn at Little Washington: A Consuming Passion," by Patrick O'Connell and Tim Turner (Random House, 1996).
For the soup
1 medium (about 4 pounds) pumpkin
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced
5 cups no-salt-added chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Dash freshly ground black pepper
For the rum cream
1 cup heavy cream
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon (1/4 teaspoon zest and 1/2 teaspoon juice)
3 tablespoons good-quality dark rum
For the soup: Drain the water from the wood chips.
Prepare the grill for indirect heat: If using a charcoal grill, light the coals. When the coals are hot, scatter the wood chips directly onto them. If using a gas grill, place 1 cup of the drained chips in a smoker box or an aluminum foil pouch punctured on top with a fork to release smoke. Place the smoker box or foil pouch between the grate and briquettes, close to the flame. Preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium (350 degrees).
Meanwhile, discard the pumpkin stem. Cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Scrape out all of the seeds and fiber.
When ready to grill, place the unpeeled pumpkin halves, flesh sides down, on the far side of the grill, away from the coals or flame. Smoke the pumpkin for 60 to 90 minutes, until a fork slides easily through the flesh.
Remove the pumpkin from the grill. When cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scrape the pumpkin flesh from its skin into a bowl. Discard the skin.
Melt the butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the shallot and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the broth, cinnamon, allspice and orange juice. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the pumpkin; cook for 10 minutes, then add the cream and nutmeg, stirring to incorporate. Turn off the heat. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor. Puree until smooth, then strain into a clean pot. Place over low heat and keep warm. Season with the salt and pepper.
For the rum cream: Pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the lemon zest and juice, rum and sugar. Continue whipping until the cream is almost stiff. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Divide the soup among individual bowls; top each portion with equal amounts of the rum cream. Serve right away.
NUTRITION Per Serving: 390 calories, 29g fat, 18g saturated fat, 120mg cholesterol, 230mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 6g sugar, 6g protein.
Fall recipes make good use of Halloween gourds after holiday
Washington D.C. —
Grilled Pumpkin Slices with
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