Roasted Pumpkin and Chipotles Puree

Thanksgiving is already over but I would like to share here one dish that I made on Thanksgiving. It was a roasted pumpkin and chipotle puree,
that turned out really, really delicious.

Using a technique I learned from Alex
Talbot and Aki Kamozawa of Ideas in Food I roasted a pumpkin whole in a convection
oven at 325F for about an hour and a half. The pumpkin I used was a
French heirloom variety, that in our area has come to be referred to
as a “peanut shell” pumpkin because of IMG_9847 - 2008-11-27 at 13-43-28
the odd textured patterns
on its exterior that look like peanut shells. It's real name,
however, is ‘Brodé Galeux d’Eysines’ (Cucurbita maxima). Once the pumpkin finished roasting I left it out
to cool before cutting it in half and removing most of the seeds. The
flesh was then easily scooped out and placed in a Vita-Mix blender.

Vita-Mix blenders are a major step up
from home blenders. I'm not sure that a regular home blender or even
a food processor would have done the job that the Vita-Mix did. I did
not worry about scrupulously making sure that all the seeds had been
removed from the flesh as I placed it in the blender, knowing that
the Vita-mix would make short work of the outer coat, which it did. I
was tempted to put more of the also-roasted seeds in for body and
flavor, but I did not want to push my luck. Next time I will add
more. 

 IMG_9853 - 2008-11-27 at 16-23-03

To the pumpkin flesh I added a short
pour of maple syrup,
the pulp of a vanilla bean, cinnamon shards,
freshly grated nutmeg, salt and a Mexican dried chipotle, filling the
container nearly to the top with all the ingredients. I then blended
the mixture to a fully smooth consistency. The combination worked 
nicely with enough chipotle to add complexity, flavor and a touch of
heat with overwhelming the other components. The puree proved a
popular accompaniment to the rest of the Thanksgiving meal, but with
tweaks could be used for other purposes. Thinned out a bit with
chicken stock or some other liquid, it would make a delicious soup.
It could also be made a touch sweeter and with the addition of
hydrocolloids, a nice dessert component.


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