Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fun Halloween Recipes

This year I decided to be ambitious and make a Halloween Feast on All Hallows Eve. I originally was going to just make pumpkin soup, but in my quest to find the perfect pumpkin soup recipe I came across some other interesting ideas so I thought why not make a whole feast. We started with my homemade pumpkin soup and then proceeded to the beef stew I made in a pumpkin along with some cute little mixed greens salads put into orange peels made to look like jack-o-lanterns. Here are the recipes if you would like to make them for your next Halloween. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Soup

1 small pie pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 apple, peeled & diced
2 cups roasted & diced pumpkin
1 tablespoon sage leaves, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cloves, all spice & ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut whole pumpkin in half and discard seeds and stringy membrane. Then cut each half into several pieces. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender but not falling apart, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool, peel away skin and dice.

In a stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, carrot, apple, roasted pumpkin and sage along with the nutmeg, cloves, all spice and ground ginger until all are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Puree the mixture in two batches in either a blender or food processor. Return puree to the stockpot, add the chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the cream and simmer for 5 more minutes, lowering the heat if necessary so it does not boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve.

Note: 1 pie pumpkin can make up to 4 cups of pumpkin so you can either double your recipe or use the left over pumpkin for something else.

Here is a picture of my pumpkin soup. To make the spider web, I put a small amount of heavy whipping cream in a sandwich bag, snipped a small hole in the corner and drizzled it around in circles. Then I just pulled a butter knife through the soup from the center out. It turned out really good. When I served it I put some roasted pumpkin seeds that I had made on top to add a crunch. I think next time I may add some cayenne pepper to add a little kick.

Beef Stew in a Pumpkin

2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups beef stock
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package french onion soup mix
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (10 lb.) pumpkin

In a dutch oven (or large stock pot), brown meat in 2 tablespoons of oil. Add beef stock, potatoes, carrots, green pepper, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Meanwhile, wash pumpkin and cut a 6-8 inch circle around top stem. Removed top and set aside; discard seeds and loose fibers from inside. Place pumpkin in a shallow sturdy baking pan.

After two hours, stir soup mix and tomatoes into the stew. Mix thoroughly and then spoon stew into the pumpkin and replace the top. Brush the outside of the pumpkin with remaining oil. Bake stew filled pumpkin at 325 degrees for 2 hours or just until the pumpkin is tender (do not over bake). Serve stew from pumpkin, scooping out a little pumpkin with each serving.

Here's my baked pumpkin filled with stew. Of course I forgot to take a picture of it open so you could see the stew, but you get the idea. This turned out super delicious. The only thing I may do different next time is throw the veggies in later. The potatoes and carrots pretty much disintegrated, but it did thicken the stew nicely. I may add half early on and the rest at the half way point so that some still have a bite to them.

Mesclun Meanies

8 large thick-skinned oranges (navel oranges work well)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh ground back pepper, to taste
1 (5 oz.) bag baby mixed greens
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Slice 1/2 inch slice off top of oranges and slice enough off bottom of orange so they won't roll. Grate 1/4 teaspoon of zest from top sliced off the oranges. Carve pulp out of all oranges (using a grapefruit knife or other small serrated knife). Section the pulp of four oranges (1 cup or so) removing them whole from the membranes; set aside. Juice rest of pulp to get 1/4 cup of juice; set aside. Cut a jack-o-lantern face on each orange. Whisk together reserved zest and juice with vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, lemon juice, ginger, salt and pepper. Whisk oil in until combined. Toss greens and reserved orange pieces with 2-3 tablespoons of dressing. Stuff orange shells with salad and top with pumpkin seeds.

I love how these turned out! While it was kind of time consuming to make the orange jack-o-lanterns, I think it was worth it. These could be used for tons of things too, not just mixed greens. You could do a little fruit salad in them or even used them as candle holders. I will definitely be making these again!

Because of how time consuming these recipes were, I copped out and baked a store-bought frozen pumpkin pie for dessert, but what I really wanted to make were these:

Aren't they adorable?! They actually don't seem all that difficult either, even for someone like me who hates to bake. Here's the link to the recipe http://www.ourbestbites.com/2011/10/candy-corn-sugar-cookies/. The blog is actually really good too! Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween and maybe you can enjoy these recipes next year too!

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