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The Secret Ingredient: The many flavors of pumpkin

Kristen Gibbs

Issue date: 10/17/08 Section: Focus
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Fresh pumpkins usually start to appear in October and can be found fairly easily throughout the winter months. Pumpkins are great to have on hand since they can be stored at room temperature for up to a month, or stored in the refrigerator for up to three months. However, with all of the delicious uses for fresh pumpkin, they may not be in the pantry for very long. Although there are many wonderful recipes that call for fresh pumpkin, canned pumpkin is frequently used in cooking and has a delicious real pumpkin flavor. Canned pumpkin can be found in the baking isle of the grocery store year-round.
Pumpkins are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin E and a good source of potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin C. In addition, pumpkin is naturally fat-free and high in fiber. Combining the nutritional value of pumpkin seeds, or canned pumpkin in a hearty soup, a trail mix, or a delicious fruit dip is a delicious way to add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your diet.

Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin Stew from Cooking Light

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
4 cups sliced onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups cubed, peeled fresh pumpkin or other winter squash (such as acorn)
1 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
5 cups hot cooked long-grain rice

Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half of the chicken, and sauté for 8 minutes or until browned. Remove the chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with 1 teaspoon oil and remaining chicken; set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (onion through garlic); sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, water, and coconut milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Return chicken to pan; cook 10 minutes or until heated. Stir in cilantro; serve over rice.
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