Servings: 6 to 8
If you need a vegetarian “star” for the Thanksgiving table, this is it. (But if you have leftover cooked turkey on hand, it also makes a delicious addition to the filling.)
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Stem, seed, and rinse the chiles. Put the chiles, garlic, oregano, and 3 cups water in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chiles and garlic are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Purée in a blender.
Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until nicely browned, about 11 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin and stir to coat. Lower the heat to medium, add the broth, cover, and simmer until the pumpkin is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the turkey (if using) and season to taste with salt. asse mble
Serve Cold Avocado Soup with Chile-Lime Pepitas or Chunky Guacamole with Homemade Tortilla Chips while the casserole is cooling. Gorditas de Piloncillo (Sweet Fried Masa Cakes) with Mexican Hot Chocolate make for a sweet finish.
The sauce for this recipe completely overwhelms the flavor of the pumpkin mixture and is lacking any depth of flavor. The sauce was very bitter and definitely needed something to round it out. The salsa that is recommended was very good and did help in covering up the bitterness of the sauce but not enough.
I made this recipe without the poultry. I believe turkey or chicken should not be "optional" given the results I had. I purchased a proper pumpkin for cooking and made sure not to overcook. The texture of the casserole was too soft even when served with the poblano-pepita salsa. It might be better to sprinkle whole pepitas on top of the casserole rather than chop them in food processor and incorporate in the salsa. I agree with other reviewers who found the vegetarian version to lack flavor.
I made this with chicken. It was labor intensive, with plenty of clean-up while it is in the oven, but it was totally worth it. I consider this a dinner party worthy recipe. My one quibble is that you should strain the skin and stray seeds out of the sauce. When you do this you are then short on the sauce. The sauce needs to be at least 1.5 times to 2 times the written recipe. You will have to do it in batches in the blender. Don't forget the margaritas!
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