Recipe: Smoked Pumpkin

21 Oct

The ridiculously subtle autumn breeze is upon me, and that means finding fun ways to eat vegetables. Green beans with orange slices, soybeans with buttermilk, and the last of summer zucchini roasted with lemon and pecans. I’ve had these cheese pumpkins (that sounds so gross), and Sunday night dinner was the right time for them. They’ve got a melon-sweet smell and beautiful (and yes, like cheddar cheese) color. Taking apart the pumpkin took me three knives and lots of slasher film-inspired jokes.

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I’ve been putting a lot of vegetables in the smoker (cauliflower is great, so are tomatoes and carrots), but this is a way to take the pumpkin in a new light. The end result is blistery and woody, perfect for the sweet heat of a cinnamon-brown butter.

For smoking chips, I used peach wood chips, soaked in water for half an hour.

1 3-5-pound cheese pumpkin
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 Tbsps (1 stick) butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 Tbsp light brown sugar.

To “butcher” pumpkin: slice into pumpkin top to remove stem. Begin to scoop out pumpkin membranes and seeds, reserving for roasting and snacking. Once pumpkin cavity is clean, slice pumpkin into 1-inch slices along the skin’s creases. Place slices onto a flat sheet of aluminum foil and sprinkle 1 tsp salt in each pouch. Fold up the sides of the sheet into a pouch-like pocket, leaving pumpkin skin and flesh exposed to air.

In a smoker, place woodchips directly onto lit charcoal embers. When they give off a scent (after about 10 minutes), place pumpkin pouches on two separate racks. Roast for 2 hours.

While roasting, light a grill and turn to medium-high. Arrange slices skin-side down and grill 3 minutes per side. Remove and reserve.

In a medium saute pan, melt butter on low heat. When the milk solids and foam subside, add remaining salt to butter. Continue to watch butter as it turns brown, making sure it doesn’t burn. Once it has reached a brown color (about five minutes), remove from heat and add cinnamon and brown sugar. To serve, arrange pumpkin slices in a casserole dish and spoon brown sugar-brown butter over slices.

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Smoke up, Johnny.

All photos by Tommy Werner

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