It’s official!!!!! Fall is now here. I love it! The weather is not yet reflecting fall, and our leaves are only just starting to change colors, but the calendar says it is officially here, so I am going with that. Soon houses and homes everywhere will be filled with the scents and flavors of fall. This includes warm cinnamon and apples; lots of pumpkins and pumpkin pie; toasted pecans; maple syrup; and so much more. I started some fall cooking a few weeks ago, but now that it is officially the fall season, you can expect to see a lot more seasonal cooking and baking from me.
Here in the United States, we tend to think of pumpkins only for pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is certainly delicious, but there is so much more you can do with pumpkin than just pie. What we call squash is known to the rest of the world as pumpkin, so you will find I use the two terms interchangeably. Pumpkins, like their cousins in the squash family, are part of the cucurbita family or gourd family. Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Mushrooms Pumpkins, or squash, are eaten all over the world and are a staple in many people’s diet. They are very healthy for you as well as being very tasty. Pumpkin is also very versatile. There are s many different ways you can cook it. I love pumpkin any which way it is cooked, and I tend to cook a lot of pumpkin dishes in the fall. Dinner was most definitely a meal of the fall season, complete with lots of of the flavors of fall. We pulled some pork loin that we had already cooked from the freezer and I made a delicious pumpkin-apple butter sauce (I made my apple butter quite awhile ago. It is almost time to make some more, and when I do, the recipe will follow) with toasted pecans to top it off. I served it atop garlic mashed potatoes and served it with roasted pumpkin and Brussels sprouts, also with with toasted pecans.
The ingredients for my sauce: Apple butter (I made that quite awhile ago), dried apples (I had them already, but normally I would use fresh apples), canned pumpkin, salt, pepper, toasted pecans and pumpkin vinaigrette (I actually used my own that I made, but for the picture, I had a store-bought pumpkin vinaigrette. This was actually the inspiration for me making my own). This is a zesty, flavorful sauce that is perfect for a fall dinner. I served it over pork, but it is also very good with chicken too.
Pumpkin-Apple Pecan Sauce
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped and set aside
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1.4 cup apples, diced small – dried or fresh is fine
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
2/3 cup apple butter
1/2 cup pumpkin vinaigrette
Just mix everything except the pecans together and cook in a saucepan for about 10 minutes, at a low simmer. Then top your meat with the sauce and add the toasted, chopped pecans.
Everything I need for my maple roasted vegetables. I used kobaishi squash, but you can use any type of hard gourd-like squash or pumpkins you like. I use a wide variety of squash and pumpkins all the time. Their flavors are all pretty similar.
The recipe I was using said to cook the pumpkin first, then add the Brussels sprouts and pecans later and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Well, I tried that at first, but if I had continued to follow the recipe, my squash would have been mush. So, after cooking the squash, I removed it from my pan and then cooked my Brussels sprouts and pecans and added the squash later. From here on out, I will just cook everything all at once.
Maple Roasted Pumpkin, Brussels Sprouts and Pecans
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 lb of your favorite pumpkin or hearty squash, skinned and cubed
1 lb Brussels Sprouts, cut in half lengthwise
salt & pepper to taste
2 TBSP pure maple syrup
2 TBSP olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400*F
Toss everything together and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the squash and Brussels sprouts are cooked and tender.
The flavors of fall – pork loin topped with a pumpkin-apple butter sauce with toasted pecans served atop garlic mashed potatoes, with maple roasted pumpkin, Brussels sprouts and pecans. I served it with a chardonnay with hints of apples and citrus. Let the fall season begin!