The Great Pumpkin

I have something to add to your binder full of pumpkin recipes.

Do you like fall? I love it. I know, you might not be ready for the change in season, the shift from wearing shorts to wearing scarves and pants and tights and boots. (Even though scarves and tights and boots are so much cuter than shorts and sandals. You know it’s true.) And I know, you might be sick of all the pumpkin madness already, but this is something different – promise. No cinnamon and nutmeg here. (Although come to think of it, they would be nice additions.)

Braeden gave me a Caribbean cookbook for my birthday a few years ago, and I’ve been meaning to post something from its colorful, spicy pages. And since Braeden’s cousin gifted us a little pumpkin from her CSA box, the timing is just right. I present to you a pumpkin curry from St. Lucia (which admittedly is not the first place I’d look for a warming curry perfect for a chilly fall’s night, but whatever). After a few changes to use what ingredients I had on hand, we created a cozy, spicy curry that came together in a little less than an hour, leaving you plenty of time to get out to that pumpkin patch, or look through your binders full of – well, you know.

Pumpkin Curry
adapted from The Essential Caribbean Cookbook

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (red, yellow, sweet, any kind), chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste, or 2 tomatoes roughly chopped, or 1 14-ounce can tomatoes, with juices
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 fresh chiles (I actually used a few pickled jalapenos I had, but non-pickled are perfect, too), chopped (seeded if you like less spice)
  • 1 small pumpkin, peeled, seeded*, and cut into 1-inch cubes (our pumpkin was probably 1 – 2 pounds)
  • 5 – 6 leaves of chard or kale, (stems removed but reserved and chopped), and roughly chopped
  • 2 – 3 cups water, chicken broth, vegetable broth, coconut water, or a combination thereof
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. If using tomato paste, add it now to caramelize it a bit and get that tomato-pasty flavor out. Add ginger, turmeric, and chiles; cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring.

Add the pumpkin, tomatoes (fresh or canned, if using instead of paste), and 2-3 cups of your liquid. You want the pumpkin to be mostly covered, but it doesn’t have to be completely submerged in liquid. Cover the pan and cook over medium low heat on a gentle simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender but not mushy. After 10 minutes or so, add in the reserved and chopped chard stems, if you like (you know, in the spirit of not wasting. It actually added a nice flavor and cooked celery-like texture). Stir every so often to make sure any pumpkin not submerged in liquid gets mixed in and cooks with the rest. Add chard or kale, stir to wilt, and season to taste with salt and pepper

Serve over rice – I used basmati, jasmine would be good too. It’s also really, really tasty topped with a little sour cream or this, and some cilantro. You know, if that’s what you’re into.

*Also, save the pumpkin seeds and try roasting them with a little curry powder, salt, cayenne, and olive oil. They. Are. Awesome.


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