Recipe: Pumpkin Caponata from Pickled, Fried, and Fresh

Get ready for the holidays with this recipe from one of our wonderful cookbooks! UPF senior acquisitions editor Sian Hunter recently tried her hand at cooking Pumpkin Caponata from Bert Gill’s Pickled, Fried, and Fresh.

Here’s why Sian chose this recipe:

Our Thanksgiving meal features family recipes from both sides and several generations, but each year, we also have a “guest recipe”—something new that we’ve not added to the table before. Bert Gill’s Pumpkin Caponata looked perfect—I’d made a mental note about that recipe when we were working on his manuscript—so this weekend I gave it a test run. [Spoiler alert: it’s a winner!]

Pumpkin Caponata

Recipe from Pickled, Fried, and Fresh: Bert Gill’s Southern Flavors

By Bert Gill with Erika Nelson

Bert Gill says: The unique combination of sweet flavors from the squash and raisins along with savory and sour flavors of the onion, garlic, herbs, and vinegar make this dish a Blue Gill favorite. We use smaller cooking pumpkins, which are tastier and more manageable—unlike the giants we see every October, which are really meant for carving.

2 pounds cooking pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cubed
¼ cup canola oil
salt and pepper
½ cup sherry vinegar
1 cup raisins
1 large shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil
5 garlic cloves, roasted and chopped
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Makes 4–6 servings

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss the cubed pumpkin, oil, and salt and pepper together and arrange in single layer on a greased baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 20–30 minutes at 425°F until pumpkin is just tender.

While the pumpkin is cooking, heat the vinegar in a small sauté pan on medium-low heat until warmed. Pour the raisins into the pan and allow them to steep for approximately 10 minutes. Then strain the vinegar from the raisins.

Sauté the shallots in canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until soft. Add the raisins, roasted garlic, herbs, pumpkin, and olive oil to the pan and toss to combine. Allow mixture to heat in the pan for 2–3 minutes or until all ingredients are hot.

You can substitute butternut or acorn squash for the pumpkin in this recipe.

Sian’s verdict:

Finding the right pattern to cut, peel, and cube the pumpkin so as to get similar sized chunks took a little planning. I ended up quartering the cleaned pumpkin, cutting slices crosswise, and then trimming the peel away before cubing. Worked great—and I kept all my fingers! Also, I roasted the garlic cloves along right along with the pumpkin.

The flavors in this dish are wonderful—plus, it was delicious even when cooled to room temperature, so I can prepare it early and leave the last-minute stove space for gravy making! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Categories: Cooking, UPF Staff

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