Monday, September 22, 2008

Heaven (must be missin' a pumpkin stew)

It's true, I did just add music in my head to this one. It's absolutely yummilicious! The photo does not do it justice.

I was a little worried about how it would turn out, but I thought the ingredients sounded really tasty and interesting... Could have been a disaster, I guess, and I would have felt really terrible because I made it for my friend Stefanie and her family, who just welcomed a baby boy.

I know that Stefanie, her husband Dyvan, and their 2- and 4-year-old boys like spicy food, so I took a chance on this new recipe. I thought pumpkin was fitting for this time of year, and we have lots of habaneros in our garden.

The recipe is from "Lucinda's Authentic Jamaican Kitchen," which I found -- once again -- at my public library (which has a positively humongous cookbook section, by the way). The only changes I made were using a little less oil and a little less salt.

I am a fan of Jamaican food. I went to Jamaica once, with my mom, back in '98. We had an amazing time, eating fruit that tasted sweeter than I would have thought possible, spicy jerk, raw sugar cane, perfect coffee, giant sweet potatoes that were white, not orange... The sights were incredible, too; we biked down part of the Blue Mountains in the rain -- in the rain forest, literally -- and it was just awesome. (This is the exact tour we took.) On the way back to our hotel, our bus was trapped on the mountain by a mudslide, and for a moment, we thought we might die on that bus, with Bob Marley music playing on the speakers. People who lived in small huts on the mountain came out to help dig out the bus. Definitely surreal.

Well, this stew is so good, I wish I had made even more, so we could have kept some at home! I will make it for my own family this fall, that's for sure. Maybe for Alice's first birthday, which falls on Halloween (though she'll probably just have some plain, cooked pumpkin...).

I used fresh, local, organic pumpkin from Bloomingfoods, and I do believe it was my first time cooking with fresh pumpkin. A super-cute pumpkin at that, as you can see below.

Jamaican pumpkin vegetable curry stew (serves about 6)

4.5 tablespoons vegetable oil

a 2-pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons curry (I like Madras curry)

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.5 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper (I used black)

4 chopped tomatoes

1.3 cups water

2 carrots, sliced

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 green bananas, chopped

2 whole green Scotch bonnet peppers (habaneros will do)

1.) Heat the oil medium-high in a soup pot. Add the onion, cook about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, and cook another minute. Add the curry, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.

2.) Add the tomatoes, and stir. Add the water, scraping the pan bottom.

3.) Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer, medium-low, for 20 minutes.

4.) Remove the Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers before serving.

Today's question: Where have you traveled where the food just delighted you?


jelymo said...

answer to the question: i guess it would have to be olympia, wa--because there were many vegan places to eat. one place was a chinese restaurant that made a soy prawn dish that tasted just like shrimp. it was scary. the pumpkin stew looks really good and i will have to try it.

Nicole said...

Have you ever tried anything raw food-y? There's a place in Chicago I'm dying to try; I think the idea is marinating and shredding and doing all kinds of things to make the food seem a little cooked... I'm pretty sure most raw food is vegan (or is it?). Anyway, I think it sounds like a really interesting way to cook. We should take a little road trip sometime to a raw-food restaurant...

Carly said...

I made this stew tonight. Yum yum yummy. I changed it a little, to tame down the heat. And I think I should have put some crusty bread with it.
Thanks for the idea!

Nicole said...

I'm so glad you tried it out! I was worried the photo might keep people away. Bread would be really good with it, and I bet it would also be great over some rice.

Carly said...

Now that it's been a few hours since making the stew, I would say the only downside to making this is my house now smells like curry. :-P