I am lucky that my father works in the agronomist world, and every summer he gets a good harvest of pumpkins thanks to a friend who has plantations in Murcia. So I always have pumpkins at homeAnd when I mess up in the kitchen I get the most out of it that I can for many days.
That is why I think it is worth getting whole specimens, if possible large ones, although in principle we only want a piece for a cream or a sponge cake. Those pumpkin portions that they sell already cut or even peeled and chopped are too expensive, even if they seem practical. I encourage you to cook a whole pumpkin to take advantage of it all week in various recipes.
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Sunday: cooking the pumpkin
Our week starts on Sunday – in the style of the Anglo-Saxon calendars – since it is the best day to go to the kitchen for a while and plan. “Forcing yourself” to cook this day in the afternoon also helps to combat that laziness and apathy so typical of Sundays, and it is not a great job either.
When what I want is to obtain pumpkin puree for baking, I roast several examples without peeling, only cutting them in half and without seeds. But as today’s idea is take advantage of pumpkin for many recipes different, we will follow another method that will give us more play.
The first thing is peel the washed pumpkin. To do this, it is best to use a vegetable peeler that removes the skin easily without taking away the precious inner meat. We also cut the ends and open the pumpkin in half, lengthwise. Use a good knife to make it easier.
Now we remove the seeds with the filaments, which we will put in a strainer to use later. The pumpkin we cut it into medium-sized cubes, not very small, and we place it in a single layer on a large tray or baking dish. We preheat the oven to 190ºC and while we are washing the seeds under running water.
When we have the seeds clean, separated from the filaments and pulp remains, we let them dry on kitchen paper. Then we place them on another tray, season and mix with the spices that we like, for example curry, cumin or paprika. You can also make sweets, with a little sugar or honey, cinnamon and ginger.
We put the two trays in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, watching the seeds first because they are probably ready after 20 minutes. They should be crisp and golden, and the pumpkin tender but keeping its shape. When they have cooled, we store the pumpkin in the fridge in airtight containers.
Monday: pumpkin cream for dinner
On the first day of the week, we don’t usually go for a lot of jogging, nor do we feel like having dinner when we get home. Creams and purees are the ideal solution, and pumpkin may be our fall favorites.
Now that we have the pumpkin cooked we save having to cook it. We can simply crush it with broth or water, season and add other ingredients to taste. Another option is to cook other vegetables on the side, for example leek, potato and carrot, and add the pumpkin at the end before grinding.
The roasted pumpkin cream surprises with the different nuances of flavor that the dish acquires compared to the traditional method of cooking in a pot. If it is too strong, we can soften it with a little milk, light cream or vegetable alternative. I really like oatmeal cream in these cases.
Tuesday: pumpkin with legumes for the tupperware
For Tuesday we can prepare a healthy plate of legumes perfect to go the tupper to work, or wherever. If the cold is pressing, you will want a more robust spoon dish, such as chickpeas with chorizo with cider and pumpkin, or a vegetarian Murcian wheat and chickpea stew.
Of course, it is easier to improvise a plate to go if we have legumes already cooked. Homemade or canned, they are very good to combine with a portion of our pumpkin already ready, some other ingredient and spices and seasoning to taste. You can be inspired by this pumpkin with chickpeas and yogurt and tahini dressing or this lentil salad with pumpkin and goat cheese.
Wednesday: snack time
It’s only been half the week and it’s hard for us: it’s time to pamper yourself to take on new energy. It’s not that we have to snack every day, but take a break to disconnect in the middle of the afternoon It will suit us wonderfully from time to time. It can also be a good excuse to invite a friend over, or sit down and watch that series or movie that always seems to escape you.
So as not to get too complicated but without giving up something special and original, we can prepare the autumn pumpkin spice latte or spiced pumpkin latte. You just have to crush a portion of our pumpkin and mix it with the freshly made, well-spiced drink. Whipped cream is optional but … why fool us, too tempting. A small unsweetened amount won’t hurt us either, as long as it’s not a daily habit.
Thursday: vegetables and garnish
With the weekend already in sight, today we can dedicate the pumpkin to give a little more grace to a simple garnish. To eat at home or again to take away, or perhaps for dinner, the already roasted pumpkin makes it very easy for us to prepare a garnish of meat, fish or a vegetarian dish.
For example, combining it with kale or kale and nuts we will have a very healthy dish that will surprise more than one by the mixture of ingredients. If you don’t want to turn on the oven can be done in the pan, simply sautéing everything together so that the cabbage loses its toughness.
As a more energetic and satisfying alternative, we have a recipe for roasted millet with pumpkin that could be changed for couscous, rice or quinoa. If you already have the cooked grain, it will take only two minutes to assemble the dish.
Friday: sweet to end the week
Friday ends the working week and in the fall you feel like it stay home to light the oven to prepare some sweet that we will enjoy the weekend. Or maybe we have organized an excursion or a getaway, or we will have guests at home for snack or dessert; any excuse is good to bring out the sweet side of the pumpkin.
Thinking of a sweet but uncomplicated breakfast, we can make some pumpkin muffins that will smell of glory when they come out of the oven. We already saved the step of cooking the pumpkin, so the rest is thrown away. Sweeter is the pumpkin cheesecake, ideal to put the finishing touch on a family meal or with friends. Rest is good for him, so you will be at your point the next day.
Saturday: food to enjoy leisurely in good company
At this point we will have little pumpkin left in the fridge, but we can still give it a perfect recipe for a home Saturday. As we have more time -in theory-, nothing in a hurry and you want to enjoy yourself at the table, we can make homemade pizza, empanada or a coca. They are very grateful masses that require investing a little more time, but they are well worth it.
Depending on the pumpkin that we have left over, we can make it more or less the protagonist of the fillings. In the case of pizza and coca it will be enough to pour it over in the last minutes of the oven. You can use your favorite recipes or try this delicious salty pumpkin coca with oil dough.
And don’t forget take advantage of the crunchy seeds that we prepare the first day; simply as a snack they are addictive. I also like to use them as toppings in soups, creams, salads or mixed with yogurt, cereals and fruit.
It is clear that a single pumpkin can give a lot of itself in different recipes that will help us all week. Too much zucchini? Well, you don’t have to follow the full weekly plan either, but it’s worth taking advantage of a good specimen of pumpkin to cook it at once and get the most out of it in the kitchen.
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