Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Stew

I loooooove Halloween.  Like a lot.

I think I love it so much because the spooky holiday is just the perfect excuse to decorate my house with cobwebs and witches hats, dress up in absolutely whatever I want, watch scary movies all day and night long, and eat one too many fun-sized Snickers bars... 

Oh, and eat stew out of a pumpkin...

That's right.  Stew.. out of a pumpkin...

Now, don't be afraid... I know you are probably thinking I am crazy. Stew in a pumpkin?! How can that be good? 

But people let me tell you... it is the best stew you will ever taste. 

My mom used to make this dinner for my brother and I every Halloween night before the trick or treating festivities began.  And I mean, kids are food's biggest critics, and if we ate this meal as little ghosts and goblins, it HAS to be absolutely delicious, right?!  


The familiar flavors of a hearty stew are all present in this new twist on the classic.  The only thing different is the delicious pumpkin flesh that you can peel away from the pumpkin, itself, and eat right along the meat, veggies, and potatoes.  (It tastes JUST like squash so if you like squash this is the best of the best- believe me.) 

This meal is a stick-to-your-rib meal and will keep you up and running all throughout the exciting night of costumes, candy, and whatever mischief you find yourself in..

So Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you have the best night full of love, spooks, and scares with family and friends! (And pumpkin stew, of course...)

Now, excuse me while I go indulge in some right now.. :)

1 12-18 lb. pumpkin
4 large red potatoes, cut into 1-in. pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, 1/2-in. diced
1/2 bag mini carrots, halved lengthwise
Extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs extra lean stew meat
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 TBS instant beef bouillon
1 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
Vegetable oil

Chop potatoes, onion, green pepper, and carrots.

In a large dutch oven or pot, drizzle extra virgin olive oil and add stew meat.

Cook meat over medium-high heat and brown.

Add all of the veggies to the pot.  Mix together.

Add water, salt, and pepper.  Mix together!

Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 2 hours!  Stir the stew throughout the 2 hours.

While the stew has cooked for at least 1 1/2 hours,  preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  You can also start working on your pumpkin!  Cut a 6-8 inch circle around the stem of the pumpkin.  Cut off the excess flesh hanging off of the lid and remove the seeds.  Set aside.  Now, roll up your sleeves and remove all of the seeds from the inside of your pumpkin like you are 5-years old again! Scoop out the stringy pulp, but don't remove all of it!  (You want some of that pulp when you serve yourself a nice, big scoop when it is done cooking!)  Place your pumpkin in a baking dish.   Your pumpkin should looks as mine does, below.

Once your stew has cooked for the full two hours, remove the lid and stir once last time.  Now, I know the stew is not the prettiest (sooo dull in color :( )... but c'mon now stew never is!  And boy, does the taste make up for it..

Spice up the stew mix, and add the beef bouillon and canned tomatoes with juice!

It's pumpkin time! Carefully scoop all of the stew into the pumpkin. 

Once all of the stew has been added, place the lid back on the pumpkin.  Pour a little vegetable oil on to a piece of paper towel and give the outside of your pumpkin a good rub down.  This will keep your pumpkin from burning in the oven.

Add pumpkin to oven and cook for 2 hours!  

Once it has cooked for 2 hours, carefully remove from the oven.

Carefully remove the lid of the pumpkiny cauldron and jump for joy...  are you in for a treat! ( No tricks here, people!)  Remember to scoop out a little pumpkin pulp with each serving! (The pulp on the lid is my favorite part! Tastes just like an acorn squash!) Serve with a hearty piece of bread to dip in the juices and enjoy!! Happy Halloween everyone! 

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