Thai Red Pumpkin and Carrot Curry

A vegetarian dish of roasted pumpkin, carrots, onions, red bell pepper, chiles, ginger, garlic, coconut milk and basil..

Thai Red Pumpkin and Carrot Curry

Thai Red Pumpkin and Carrot Curry (click to enlarge)

For the Curry Paste (adapted from a recipe by Darlene Schmidt)

1 shallot, chopped
1 stalk lemon-grass, minced
2-3 red chilies
4 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece galangal (substitute ginger)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons traditionally-fermented soy sauce
1/2 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Process all ingredients together in a food processor, using just enough coconut milk to keep the blades turning.  Set aside.

For the Vegetables

1 small pie pumpkin, split, seeded and roasted
2-3 carrots, trimmed and cut on 1/2 inch bias
1 small red bell pepper, julienne cut
1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
1-2 fresh green chiles, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
2 teaspoons freshly-grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil, torn
1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds

Split 1 small pie pumpkin in half lengthwise and remove stem, seeds and stringy material.  Place cut-side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven until tender.  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.

Heat coconut oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Sauté carrots until not quite tender, then add red bell pepper, onion and chiles and cook until just tender.

Add ginger, garlic and curry paste and fry until it begins to release a little oil.  Add coconut milk and roasted pumpkin flesh, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Add scallions and basil a few minutes before the end.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and basil leaves.


This post is in support of Meatless Monday!

Roast Squash Coloradito

Roasted sweet dumpling squash stuffed with poblano peppers, Spanish onions, smoked bacon and toasted corn, served over a spicy mole Coloradito..

Roast Squash Coloradito

Roast Squash Coloradito

For the Sauce

Simmer 1/4 cup mole Coloradito paste (a somewhat complicated combination of Ancho and Guajillo chiles, almonds, sesame seeds, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, banana and pumpkin seeds) with 3/4 cup vegetable stock.  Keep warm.

For the Roasted Squash

Split, trim and seed one or more small, suitable baking squash (such as the thin-skinned sweet dumpling variety, shown here).  Scoop out and discard the stringy fibers, leaving 1/2 inch flesh.  Brush with ghee or melted butter, season with salt and smoked pepper and roast in a 375 degree oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes. Keep warm.

For the Filling

4 pieces of un-cured smoked bacon, cut into large dice
1 Poblano pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell or sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet until nearly crisp.  Add vegetables and continue to cook until barely tender.  Fill the cavity of the squash with the vegetable mixture, season with salt and pepper and return to the oven until heated through, about 7 minutes.

To Serve

Spread mole in the center of a warmed plate and place roasted squash on top.  Toss some toasted pumpkin seeds and a little chopped cilantro at it and serve immediately.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays!

Pollo de Campo

Pastured chicken brined overnight in smoked chile powder and annatto, then roasted with peppers, onions and a cilantro, lime & pumpkin seed pesto.

Made in a Dutch oven, this Pollo de Campo (camp chicken) is easy to prepare at home or on the trail..


Pollo de Campo

For the brine

1/2 gallon filtered water
3 oz kosher salt
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon sweet cinnamon shards
8 allspice berries
2 teaspoons smoked chili powder
1 tablespoon organic annatto powder
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Bring the water to a bowl.  Stir in salt and annatto powder and stir to dissolve.  Allow to cool then add the rest of the ingredients.

For the Pesto (can be made a day ahead)

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup fresh parsley
juice of 1 small lime
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
pinch of salt
olive oil

For the Chicken

1 3-4 pound whole pastured chicken, rinsed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
2 red Fresno or jalapeño peppers
1 teaspoon paprika
sea salt and cracked pepper

For the Rice

1/2 cup Bomba rice (a short-grain Spanish rice that holds 3x its weight in stock)
2 1/2 cups water + roasted chicken stock in situ
Roasted onions and peppers in situ


Submerge the chicken in the brine and refrigerate overnight. Remove the chicken, pat it dry and place it on a bed of chopped onions and peppers in a Dutch oven.  Roast fro 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Remove chicken from the pan and scrape the vegetable and juices into a clean pan with the rice and water.  Cook the rice 20 minutes, season to taste and hold under cover.

Meanwhile, place the chicken back into the Dutch oven and use a spoon or spatula to coat it with the cilantro pesto.  Return to oven and continue to roast until the juices run clear, about 20 minutes.

Allow the chicken to rest 10 minutes before carving and serving with the rice.

Southwest Grilled Pork Ribeye with Fried Nixtamal

Tender, pastured pork rib-eyes marinated in annatto oil, garlic and mild Adobo seasoning served with nixtamal fried in butter with green onions, yellow tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and fresh jalapeños..


Soak nixtamal (traditional, lime-slaked dried maize) overnight in cool, filtered water.  Boil slowly in a heavy pot of fresh water until just tender, about 2 hours. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, marinate pork in annatto oil, fresh garlic, Mexican oregano and adobo-style seasoning for at least 2 hours.

Fry nixtamal, whole cumin and pumpkin seeds in pastured butter until browned.  Add green onions, peppers, tomatoes, sea salt, cracked pepper and just a pinch of coarse, non-refined sugar and sauté quickly until the tomatoes give up most of their liquid, perhaps 5 minutes.  Toss with chopped cilantro just before serving.

Meanwhile, grill the pork rib-eyes until medium-done and nicely marked, but still plump and juicy.  Hit everything with a modest squeeze of fresh lime and serve hot from the pan.

To make annatto oil, toast achiote seeds in a hot, dry skillet until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add good olive oil and infuse over low heat for about 20 minutes. Strain the resulting annatto oil and store indefinitely in a cool, dark place.

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Three Sisters Succotash

Uh'Be'Ka'Yad'Un'Na', Alex Seowtewa


The Three Sisters (squash, maize, and beans) are the three main agricultural crops of some Native American groups in North America.

The Tewa and other Southwest tribes often included a “fourth sister” known as “Rocky Mountain bee plant”, which attracts bees to help pollinate the beans and squash.

Succotash (from Narragansett msíckquatash, “boiled corn kernels”) is a food dish consisting primarily of corn and Lima beans or other shell beans. Other ingredients may be added, including tomatoes, green and sweet red peppers, and possibly including pieces of cured meat or fish.

Using local ingredients and flavors of the Southwest, my variation attempts to honor the spirit of these important food traditions..

Roast white and yellow corn and carrots in a heavy skillet with some good animal fat such as bison or bear if you can get it, or beef marrow or pork belly if you can’t.  Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.

Add Lima or other beans, wild onions or leeks and summer squash, filtered water or bone broth and a fresh chili if you like, and simmer partially covered until beans are tender, perhaps 20 minutes.

Season with salt and smoked pepper and garnish with fried squash blossoms and toasted pumpkin seeds.


This post is part of Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays

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