Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sugar-Roasted Pumpkin

It's October, and pumpkins are on the shelves. I've heard it said that pumpkin is perhaps the last truly seasonal item in the produce section - just try finding one in July - but from late September to mid-November, if you want to eat pumpkin, you're in luck.

If you think pumpkins are only for carving and decorating, think again. This cousin of other winter squashes (like butternut and kabocha) is equally perfect for cooking. Just be sure you're choosing a smaller "sugar pie" pumpkin or similar variety meant for the kitchen. The very large ones are more bitter and better suited to spooking trick-or-treaters as your jack o' lantern.

  • 1 small pumpkin (about 2 and 1/2 pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegan brown sugar
1. Cut the pumpkin into 4 wedges; discard the seeds and membranes but leave on the peel. You can get a sense of how large your pumpkin should be from this photo:

As you can see, as soon as it's cut open, the pumpkin resembles any squash, like butternut or acorn.

2. Place the pumpkin wedges, cut sides up, in an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Place 1/2 teaspoon butter on each wedge, and sprinkle each with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar.

3. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes - the pumpkin should be tender. 

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 wedge), Calories 94

Tasting Notes:
Consider me a pumpkin convert. Not as sweet as butternut, and retaining a pleasant meatiness after roasting, unlike acorn squash which I find becomes too tender, this was an excellent way to savor pumpkin. A nice silky and lightly-sweet coating from the butter-and-sugar mixture but I think the pumpkin would taste even better with maple syrup. My only gripe was that it's a touch cumbersome to cut the tender pumpkin flesh away from the inedible skin before each bite. I'd peel the pumpkin and chop into cubes before baking next time, toss with butter and brown sugar (or maple syrup, as mentioned), and roast that way instead of in wedges.


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