Perfect for this time of year are sweet and savory recipes prepared using fresh pumpkin. I see all those creatively carved pumpkins in my neighborhood and all I can think is yummy, that would make a tasty recipe! Carved pumpkins are fun too, though. For this recipe, I used up the last bit of fresh pumpkin I had to prepare a hearty meatless stew.
And two of my other favorites for soups or stews during this fall season are sweet potatoes and chayotes. The chayotes, in particular, I love because they hold up to long cooking times. They have the texture of a firm potato, but taste like cabbage to me. We really enjoy them. And the best part of this stew, don’t forget the garnish. Garnished with roasted and salted pumpkin seeds adds that bit of salty and crunchy to this recipe. Don’t forget to add this recipe as one of your side dishes or starter dishes for the upcoming holiday.
Heat to medium, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic, chayote, carrots, celery and bell pepper. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and pumpkin and saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the tomato sauce or tomato paste. If adding tomato paste, also add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth or water. Season with a little more salt and pepper, add bay leaves, the tomatoes and chipotles. Stir well to combine and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add in all of the remaining ingredients for the stew, minus the masa harina slurry. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Taste for salt and pepper and cook until chayotes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are all fork tender, about 15 minutes. The chayotes take the longest to cook, so that is why they go in ahead of the others.
Once all the vegetables are fork tender, gradually add in the masa harina slurry while stirring. It will thicken pretty quickly. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and crushed red pepper flakes.
Toast and roast your own pumpkin seeds at home. Purchase the natural unsalted pumpkin seeds and heat them in a nonstick skillet at medium/low heat. Once they begin to toast, drizzle in a little olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper and chile limon powder. Cook stirring often, just until most of oil is absorbed.