Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pumpkin, Pear, and Cranberry Gratin

Last night, I gave you a recipe with fresh pumpkin as the star of the show. Most of us are used to buying the already-pureed stuff in a can, but fresh pumpkin will definitely break you out of the rut of thinking pumpkin = pumpkin pie each and every time.  This gratin is another prime example. Serve as a side dish with any savory meal, and you'll begin to see how versatile this winter squash can be. It takes a little bit of effort to cut the peel from the pumpkin (sharpen your knives, folks), but once that's done, this dish comes together quickly.

  • 4 cups (1/2-inch) peeled and cubed pumpkin
  • 2 cups peeled and finely chopped pear
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons sweetened dried cranberries*
  • 2 tablespoons vegan brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 (1-ounce) slices white bread
  • 1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter
1. Steam the pumpkin, covered, for 10 minutes - it should be tender by the end.  Drain.

2. Combine the pumpkin in a bowl with the pear, orange rind, orange juice, cranberries, brown sugar, ginger, salt, and black pepper. 

3. Spoon the mixture into an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, then cover and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the bread slices in a food processor and pulse about 10 times - coarse crumbs should measure about 1 cup.  Combine the breadcrumbs in a bowl with the cheddar and butter.

5. Uncover the gratin and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes, until golden brown on top.

*I recommend apple juice-sweetened dried cranberries rather than those sweetened with sugar. You'll avoid any potentially bone-char filtered sugar that way.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 cup), Calories 147

Tasting Notes:
Pumpkin + pear = amazing, an unexpected and perfect combination of this tender winter squash and the slightly grainy cooked pear. This gratin was a delight in every bite, from the sweet elements (orange juice, dried cranberries) to the savory ones (cheddar, breadcrumbs). Perfect.


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