The last few years, I’ve had relatively rotten luck with my garden. First, there are the evil crows in my neighborhood that take great delight in eating all my seeds and sprouts. (And these crows are smart! So smart, in fact, that I’m a little paranoid that they might read this blog post and punish me for it.) In addition, all the neighborhood cats think my raised beds are giant litter boxes. And, to be quite honest, I just don’t have the gift of a green thumb. I can grow herbs, greens, zucchini, and tomatoes. That’s about it.
Last year, I planted an heirloom pumpkin in my backyard. It was a gorgeous blue pumpkin, and it grew phenomenally well. It was the first time I’d planted pumpkin, and I was shocked. However, one day I came home to find that my beautiful blue pumpkin had met an untimely death. Our landlords had hired someone to trim the hedges in our backyard, and the trimmers somehow managed to stomp my poor pumpkin to death. There was no salvaging the plant or the fruit, the pumpkin was gone. I was crushed.
After the great pumpkin debacle of 2013, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to attempt growing pumpkins again. But, I decided to give it one more shot. I planted one little sugar pie pumpkin plant in my front garden (nowhere near the hedges!). Despite my best attempts to kill my garden (read: it was a very hot summer and I was very pregnant), I did manage to grow a few things this year, including one adorable little pumpkin.
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do with my one adorable little pumpkin. I probably should have made a pie with it – after all, it is a sugar pie pumpkin – but, pies just aren’t my strong suit. And I wanted to make something out-of-the-ordinary. Something unexpected. So, I made curry with my one little garden pumpkin. And you know what? Pumpkin curry was a great decision. It was everything I hoped it would be — sweet, savory, and spicy. It was rich and comforting, and the perfect meal for a chilly fall evening. (And we ended up with plenty of leftovers that I froze for post-baby meals! Win!).
The moral of the story is: when life hands you a pumpkin, make curry. The end.
Adapted from Table for Two Blog
- 1 can (15 oz) of coconut milk
- 2 cups pumpkin puree**
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (red chili garlic paste, or sub Sriracha hot sauce)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 red potatoes, washed and cubed
- 3 chicken thighs
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Optional garnishes: Cilantro, plain yogurt, Sriracha
- In the bowl of your slow cooker, mix together the coconut milk, stock, sambal, fish sauce, pumpkin puree and spices. Once combined, add in the garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and whole chicken thighs.
- Cook on low for 6 hours, or the vegetables and chicken are cooked all the way through and the curry is thick and rich. (The chicken should be tender and fall apart on its own, or you can help it along and shred with a fork.) Add in the peas 15-20 minutes before serving, stirring to combine. Allow the peas to heat all the way through before serving.
- Serve curry with basmati rice, and garnish with Sriracha, cilantro, and plain yogurt if desired.
- Note: After 6 hours in the slow cooker, the curry liquid was still a little thin for my liking, so I transferred it to a Dutch oven and finished it on the stovetop. I cooked it over medium-high for 15-20 minutes and let it reduce until it was quick thick. It turned out perfectly!
**To make your own pumpkin puree, simply cut a small pumpkin in half. Remove stem and scoop out the seeds (leave the skin on). Brush pumpkin flesh with olive oil. Roast (flesh side down) on a lined baking sheet in a 400(F) oven for 35-45 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft and roasted all the way through. Scoop the roast pumpkin out of the skin and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.