CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I have two very good pumpkin recipes to give this month. I'm ignoring pumpkin desserts (naturally expected in this thankful month), in favor of a savory pumpkin chili and a corn chowder.
You could cook your own fresh pumpkin for the recipes. I did that once, just from curiosity, but I wasn't taken with the end result. The color, texture and taste weren't the same as what's in the good old Libby's can. It was more like cooked-down yellow summer squash instead of what we are more accustomed to. I was later reassured by a pumpkin authority that sometimes the cooked pumpkin does turn out that way, to many a cook's surprise.
There are excellent values in a pumpkin, whether working with fresh or canned. The flaming orange hue means the pumpkin is high in beta carotene, which equals rich in vitamin A.
A one-half cup serving of pumpkin covers half of the day's needs of the vitamin. Like carrots, which have been given the same nature's color bath, vitamin A keeps vision sharp. Think about it -- we've never seen Bugs Bunny wearing glasses.
The weather is getting just right for chili and this one is vitamin-and-veggie-packed.
It was a finalist in the 2009 Pumpkin Festival in Milton. Next column I'll give the first-place winner in the category -- a creamy pumpkin corn chowder.
Makes 8 servings.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped orange or red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups diced yellow squash or zucchini or mixture of both