5 Ways to Devour (Local Bahamian) Pumpkin

Posted on October 4, 2017 | By trubahamian

Carved jack o’ lanterns, spooky costumes, trick-or-treating – it’s that ghoulish time of year again! But while we do enjoy dressing up and observing the omnipresent orange and black themes around town, truth be told, we’re most interested in the flavors of Fall. With Halloween just around the corner, it couldn’t be more timely to feature recipes of the season’s most iconic food symbol, the glorious pumpkin!

Slightly different from the visibly bright orange pumpkins typically grown in North America, local pumpkin in The Bahamas is of a Caribbean variety  known as “calabaza”, “Caribbean pumpkin”, or scientifically as the Cucurbita moshata. While its flesh is just as orange, the exterior is green, or sometimes a buttery yellow with green and white speckles. Nonetheless, its flavor is just as intense, if not smoother and a little bit sweeter than the North American version. These splendid squashes are plentiful on the islands year-round and if you’re searching for them, you can often find them at local farmers’ markets in Nassau.

Without further adieu, we introduce our most favorite ways to devour local Bahamian pumpkin- just in time for the celebrations! PS: we won’t mind at all if any of these recipes are swapped with pumpkins you can find nearby, whichever variety that may be.


Caribbean Pumpkin Latte

Credit: Crucian Contessa

Adapted from Crucian Contessa, this tasty combination of cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla along with the flavour of the West Indian Pumpkin is golden (no pun intended). You can try this treat on a cool Fall morning. We promise, it’s good to the last drop!

Ingredients:

    • 3/4 cups coconut milk
    • 3/4 cups almond milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 tablespoons fresh pumpkin puree
    • 1 sprig of fresh mace, or pinch of ground mace
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
    • Pinch of ground clove
    • Tiny pinch of salt
    • 2 shots of espresso or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
    • Sweetener of your choice (sugar, honey, etc.)
    • Whipped cream or milk foam and extra cinnamon for garnishing

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan, add coconut and almond milks, fresh pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and salt
  2. Simmer the mixture on medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add vanilla and almond extracts
  3. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve
  4. Add the coffee/espresso and sweeteners to taste, and a garnish of  whipped cream or steamed milk foam and extra cinnamon for dusting (optional)
  5. Savour each delightful sip

Beef, Sweet Potato & Local Pumpkin Stew

Credit: Caribbean Pot

When the mercury drops, battle it back with a hearty beef stew. Additions of roasted sweet potato and local pumpkin enhance the soup’s flavors while warming up the mind, body and soul! Finish the dish with fresh herbs and serve hot.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs beef bones
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2-3 cups diced pumpkin
  • Beef stock
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 scotch bonnet (goat) pepper
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 stock cube
  • 2 scallions
  • 3-4 allspice berries

Directions: Follow each step of the soup making process in this video here.


Native Pumpkin & Rice

Credit: Caribbean Pot

This simple yet tasty vegetarian pumpkin rice dish from Chris De La Rosa of Caribbean Pot offers an awesome flavour infusion of peppers and spices grown throughout the Caribbean and Latin America region.

Ingredients:

    • 2 cups diced pumpkin
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 scotch bonnet or goat pepper
    • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups long-grain brown rice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
    • 3 – 3 1/2 veg stock
    • Pinch of nutmeg or allspice for taste

 Directions: Watch this step-by-step video for helpful tips from Chris himself!


Roasted Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Credit: The Food Network

This classic recipe from Ina Garten aka- Barefoot Contessa- of the Food Network is applicable to any variety of pumpkin or squash- feel free to swap in butternut, acorn, etc. We can promise you that it is absolutely delish for lunch or a light dinner regardless of which type you use.

Ingredients:

    • 1 (1 1/2-pound) squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
    • Olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
    • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
    • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (or onions)
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 4 ounces baby arugula or spinach, washed and spun dry
    • 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
    • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (feta or goat cheese work too!)

Directions: Follow along with Ina Garten’s instructional video clip here.


Pumpkin Flan

Credit: Mel from Miami with Love

To top it off with even more sweetness, this Fall dessert is full of pumpkin, cinnamon, caramel, spice, and everything nice. The best part? You even get to use pumpkin seeds as a garnish- delightful!

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
    • 5 large eggs
    • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
    • 2 tbsp. cognac (optional)
    • Caramel: 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
    • Toppings (optional): 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/4 tsp. cardamom, 2 tbsp. honey, 1/4 cup sweet cocoa nibs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Fill a large 11×13 baking dish halfway with water, and place dish in the center rack of the oven
  3. Whisk all flan ingredients together until smooth, avoiding air bubbles if possible
  4. Place sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar caramelizes
  5. As soon as all sugar has melted, pour mixture into the bottom of the cake pan to coat it
  6. Pour flan batter over the caramel
  7. Seal top of pan tightly with aluminium foil, and place inside of the baking dish
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, then remove cake pan and let flan cool completely
  9. Once at room temperature, place flan in the fridge for 2-3 hours prior to plating
  10. For topping, drizzle with pumpkin seeds, honey and cardamom. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes (Do this while flan is still baking if possible)
  11. To plate flan, remove foil and place a large plate over the cake pan. Then, flip it, allowing caramel to drizzle over the top. Add toppings. Enjoy!

 

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