Fall is officially here. (Yay!) For those of us getting ready to take on the beautiful season, starting with a few pumpkin-inspired recipes is just the key to doing autumn right. Find a few of my favorite must-try pumpkin recipes below and happy cooking femmes!

Pork & Pumpkin Stew

This recipe comes highly recommended from one of my foodie friends who serves it at least once a month during the colder months! The original recipe comes from Williams-Sonoma; so you know it has to be good! Add or omit ingredients as you see fit for taste & enjoy with some hearty Italian bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder – cut into ½ to 1 inch cubes
  • Salt & pepper for taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion – diced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tsp. chicken demi-glace
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1.8 tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. applesauce
  • 9 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 lb. peeled and diced (3/4 inch diced) pumpkin or winter squash
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  1. Season the pork with salt & pepper. In a 3 ½ quart Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. olive oil. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides (8-10 minutes per batch).
  1. Reduce the heat to medium and warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stiffing occasionally until tender (6-8 minutes). Add the garlic, ginger, demi-glace, tomato paste, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the vinegar, applesauce, tomatoes with juice, pumpkin, sage, stock and pork. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the pork is fork-tender (2-2 ½ hours).

 

Pumpkin Flower Quesadillas 

Pumpkin flower, or flor de calabasa, quesadillas are one of my family’s favorite type of quesadillas – but are a rarity since pumpkin flower is relatively hard to come by. I remember many pumpkin picking excursions where my mother would scour through the pumpkin patch for pumpkin flowers to make her famous quesadillas; most often coming out empty-handed. Miraculously, I found some for sale recently at the Italian market and scooped them right up! This tasty treat can be served as a whole meal or with a side of rice or soup!

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin flower (one stem per quesadilla)
  • Oaxaca cheese (or your favorite quesadilla cheese); put in as desired
  • ¼ diced onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Tortillas (two per quesadilla)

Directions

  1. In an olive oil soaked pan, sauté the onion and garlic. After both are golden brown add in the pumpkin flower, whole or cut.
  1. In a different pan, lightly warm the tortillas. Once they are malleable, add the cheese and pumpkin flower mix between two tortillas. Heat until cheese has melted.

 

Pumpkin Butter

Who doesn’t love a lovely spread, especially on homemade scones?! This pumpkin butter comes from Martha Stewart herself, and it is as simple as it is delicious. This treat also makes a great gift!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds peeled, seeded, and diced sugar pie pumpkin (substitute canned if needed)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and salt in in a pot and bring to a simmer.
  1. Continue simmering until the mixture starts to thicken, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender; blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot and heat for 10 minutes on low until it reaches desired thickness. Remove, cool, and serve.

 

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Pumpkin mac and cheese; what more needs to be said?

Ingredients

  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1-2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese or cheese medley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, heated
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pasta (as desired)

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  1. Slowly add in the pumpkin, cheese, flour, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  1. Add in the milk while stirring the sauce until you reach your desired consistency.
  1. In a separate pot cook pasta (elbow macaroni works best).
  1. Toss cooked elbow macaroni and sauce combination into buttered baking dish. Top with more grated cheese and bake in a 375° oven until bubbling and browned on top, about 20 minutes.

 

Pumpkin Hummus

This twist on the traditional hummus snack can be combined with a chickpeas or without. Extra points for those of you who serve this snack in a hollowed-out pumpkin!

Ingredients

  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 small clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • (Optional: 2 cups drained, cooked chickpeas for a more traditional hummus)

Directions

  1. In a food processor, purée together the (chickpeas) canned pumpkin, tahini, garlic, parsley, ground cumin, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.
  1. Feel free to add chili powder and/or other spices as desired!

 

Traditional Pumpkin Pie

This traditional pumpkin pie recipe hails from the New York Times; often considered the holy grail of classic recipes.

Ingredients

  • Pie crust (either store bought; or make your own if you’re super fancy)
  • 1 3/4 cups squash or pumpkin purée
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Pinch ground clove

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, eggs, cream, dark brown sugar, brandy, ginger, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the nutmeg and clove.
  1. Pour mixture into pie shell. Transfer pie to a large baking sheet.
  1. Bake until crust is golden and center jiggles just slightly when shaken, 50 to 60 minutes.

 

Pumpkin Old-Fashioned

For when you’re wiped out and need a cocktail after cooking all those pumpkin recipes…

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 ounce maple syrup
  • Orange peel twist (for garnish)

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker combine the pumpkin, bourbon, syrup, Grand Marnier and bitters.
  1. Shake, strain and enjoy!