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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

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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