Pumpkins are everywhere… They adorn porches, stoops and steps as they await their turn to ‘go under the knife’. But pumpkins are more than fall decorations and jack o’lanterns! They’re also a healthy eating source of beta carotene, the nutrient which gives pumpkins their bright orange color. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and protect against heart disease as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.
Served in the pumpkin itself, this stupendous stew makes for a very attractive centerpiece. Tip: use a pumpkin that is wider than it is tall and one that can stand upright without tilting. For a vegetarian version, substitute the beef with 2 16-ounce cans of kidney, black, or pinto beans (shown right).
Makes 8-10 servings
1 10 – 12 pound pumpkin
2 lb. Beef stew meat
2 T Oil
1 Bell Pepper, in inch thick slices
1 Onion, sliced
4 Medium potatoes, cubed
3 Carrots, cubed
2 Cloves of Garlic, diced
2 Sticks of Celery, sliced
1 15oz. can of diced tomatoes
2-3 cups Water or vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Carve a hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove seeds (see cooking Pumpkin Seeds below), and stringy ‘guts’. Scoop out 2 cups of pumpkin and cube. Then set the pumpkin aside. In a dutch oven brown stew meat in oil. Add bell pepper, onion, potatoes, carrots, garlic, celery and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 – 3 cups of water. Let simmer for 1 hour.
Place pumpkin in a shallow pan, and place stew inside the pumpkin. Brush the outside of the pumpkin with a light coating of oil. Bake pumpkin and stew at 350 for 2 hours, or until pumpkin is tender. Serve while hot.
Be sure to get chunks of pumpkin in your stew, as they enhance the flavor of the stew. A great Halloween recipe!
Cooking Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Extract the seeds from the pumpkin. Separate and discard the pulp. Thoroughly wash the seeds in warm water. Spread the seeds onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast flakes (optional). Bake for 20 minutes, checking them every 5 minutes to lightly toss and add more seasonings, if desired. After 20 minutes, take out one seed and taste after it’s cooled. If the inside of the seed is dry, the pumpkin seeds are ready! Allow to cool and serve.
For more healthy eating recipes, check out the other delicious recipes listed on this blog or visit Green Mountain Healthy Living Recipe Favorites.