Carving jack-o’-lanterns, simmering stews, baking warm, spiced breads — pumpkin is the hallmark of fall. Here’s everything you need to know about these October favorites, along with some of our most delicious recipes.
What to look for: When you’re cooking, seek out small, sweet varieties such as Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese pumpkins. These have a thick flesh, which becomes tender when baked.
Prep tips: To cut open a pumpkin, hold it steady on a thick towel, carefully insert a large, heavy knife near the stem, and cut down through the curved side. Always cut away from you. Turn the pumpkin 180 degrees and repeat on the other side. Once you’ve cracked into the pumpkin, use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and any fibrous strings inside. Save the seeds for roasting — the soup recipe below will show you how.
Mix it up: Pumpkin puree is a key ingredient in autumn-inspired baked goods. Instead of buying it canned, try making it yourself in two simple steps.
Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
1 small pumpkin, about 3 lb., such as Sugar Pie, peeled, seeded and chopped (seeds reserved)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
4 cups chicken broth
For the spicy pumpkin seeds:
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, cleaned
1 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, stir together the pumpkin and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the pumpkin on the prepared baking sheet and roast until soft and caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes.
In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, make the spicy pumpkin seeds: Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, stir together the pumpkin seeds and canola oil. In another bowl, stir together the salt, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Add the pumpkin seeds to the spice mixture and stir to coat. Spread the seeds in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, garnish with the pumpkin seeds and serve immediately. Serves 6.
|Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter
This ravioli is best with just a simple sauce of lightly browned butter and fresh sage, which complements the sweetness of the pumpkin filling.
|Pumpkin Cassoulet with Caramelized Onions & Roasted Garlic
White beans, tender squash and savory onions bake under a crisp blanket of garlic bread crumbs in this creative, comforting meatless main dish.
|Pork and Pumpkin Stew
Chock-full of tender pork and pumpkin and seasoned with a medley of fragrant spices, this warming stew is perfect for an autumn dinner with friends.
|Bulgur Pilaf with Pumpkin & Raisins
Simply browned pumpkin makes a quick seasonal side dish when mixed with hearty whole grains and golden raisins.
Grated raw pumpkin is the magic ingredient in this recipe, creating a perfectly moist texture.
Want more ideas? Check out all of our favorite pumpkin recipes here.