…Eat the Stew and the Container Too!
This gluten-free stew made with savory pork and tender russet and sweet potatoes presents itself in its own edible serving bowl. Dish out softened scoops of pumpkin with each bite of meat and potatoes, all slathered in an apricot-green chile wine broth. Sweet, savory, and sensational.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
8 little pumpkins, each large enough to hold about 1 1/2 cups of stew
4 teaspoons margarine (I use Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread – red tub)
Salt and Pepper, optional
2-3 lbs pork tenderloin*, all the fat and silver skin removed
1 large yellow or sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
4 Tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil, divided
2 14.5-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained (Del Monte brand is gluten-free)
1 4-ounce can whole green chiles, drained and large coarse chopped (Ortega brand is gluten-free)
1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 cups chicken broth (Swanson’s Natural Goodness Chicken Broth is gluten-free)
1/4-1/2 cup dry sherry, optional
8 sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish, optional
Pre-heat oven to 325º. Using a small, sharp utility knife, cut tops off of each mini pumpkin by making small slits around the top of each pumpkin about 1 1/2 inches out from the stem. Remove the tops. Scrape out all seeds and stringy flesh from the inside, until the interior of each pumpkin is smooth and the “meat” of the pumpkin walls is clean. Discard the seeds and stringy flesh (or clean seeds to roast later). Make sure the opening of each pumpkin is large enough for pumpkins to be used as bowls. Poke the inside of each pumpkin randomly with a fork (being careful not to pierce all the way through the pumpkin wall). Using the back of a spoon, spread about 1/2 teaspoon of margarine around the inside of each pumpkin. Lightly salt and pepper to taste (optional.) Place the pumpkins in baking dish, with pumpkins sitting upright and cut tops facing up. Do not cover. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until pumpkin meat pierces easily and is soft enough to scoop with a spoon. When done baking, remove dish from oven and set aside, waiting for stew to be added. With one tablespoon of oil, using your finger or a pastry brush, lightly spread a little oil along the cut top surface of each pumpkin, not the inside. This will give the pumpkin a nice finish to it and keep the top moist.
While the pumpkins are baking, cut pork into 1 1/2 inch cubes. In a large stew pot, add 3 Tablespoons oil. When oil is hot but not smoking, over medium-high heat add the pork and onion. Cook, turning meat regularly to brown on all sides. About half way through the browning process, add the garlic and stir well to flavor all the meat. Season with pepper if desired.
When pork is completely browned, add tomatoes, chiles, apricots, black pepper, sugar, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and chicken broth. Stir well. Bring stew to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Add dry sherry and continue simmering stew until potatoes are tender but don’t fall apart when pierced with a fork, probably about another 10-15 minutes.
When stew is thoroughly cooked and pumpkins are done baking, transfer each pumpkin to 8 individual serving plates or bowls. Scoop stew into each pumpkin shell. Garnish each serving of Pumpkin Harvest Stew with a sprig of fresh thyme. Serve and enjoy.
*Pork tenderloin can be found for a very reasonable price at most large warehouse-type food retailers such as Sam’s Club, Costco, Price Club. Using pork tenderloin results in very tender and flavorful bites of meat in the stew, though regular pork will work fine also.