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Simple stew starts with roast pumpkin

Recipe: Roast pumpkin-pork stew with poblano pepper

Finished stew in pot
Roasted pumpkin is delicious with pork and poblanos. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Pumpkin and poblano
A heritage pumpkin and poblano peppers are the base of the
Oaxacan-inspired stew.

Pumpkin pairs well with pork; roast pumpkin and roast pork team up even better.

Warmed by poblano pepper and cumin, this Oaxacan-inspired stew makes use of both: Chunks of oven-roasted pumpkin and leftover pork roast. Serve alone or over rice or polenta.

For this recipe, the pumpkin can be roasted up to two days in advance. Roasting keeps the chunks firmer than steaming, so the pumpkin doesn’t turn to mush in the stew.

How to roast pumpkin: Wash and pat dry pumpkin. Cut pumpkin into wedges. Scoop out seeds. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush cut surfaces of pumpkin with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange wedges in a large baking pan or on a rimmed cookie sheet with cut sides up. Bake at 400 degrees until the pumpkin is fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Peel and cube.

Slices of roasted pumpkin
Roasted pumpkin won't turn to mush in the stew.
Roast pumpkin-pork stew

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups roast pumpkin, cubed

2 cups cooked pork roast, cubed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup onion, diced

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup poblano pepper, seeded and chopped

¼ cup white wine

½ cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup tomato sauce

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Cube roast pumpkin and cooked pork. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery, garlic and poblano pepper until soft. Add pork chunks to pan and sauté lightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Finished stew
Serve the stew alone or with rice or polenta.
Add white wine to deglaze the pan. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth and cumin. Cover the pan and reduce heat. Let simmer, about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Add pumpkin chunks to the pan and re-cover the pan. Let stew simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring gently. (Don’t mash the pumpkin.) Adjust seasoning.

Serve warm.



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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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