Pumpkin Casserole

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Last Updated on May 20, 2015 by Chef Mireille

As a chef, I still have to cook for myself, in addition to my clients.
Traveling on the train home (primary mode of transportation for most New Yorkers), after teaching a cooking class or whatever other culinary activity I am involved in, I am usually thinking what am I going to make for myself now, for dinner.
I start thinking of what’s in my refrigerator and especially, I think of the vegetables and what do I need to use up before it goes bad.
I remembered I had 1/2 a Calabaza pumpkin in my refrigerator.  It was too hot for pumpkin soup, so I created this recipe in my head and I am always happy when what I invent in my head comes out perfectly delicious on the first attempt.

Pumpkin Casserole:
1 1/2 pounds Calabaza pumpkin, chopped
1 pound potatoes, chopped
8 cloves
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup cassava flour (cornmeal should be a good substitution, since I know cassava flour is not a usual pantry item for most)
1 egg
1/3 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
4 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, grated

Place pumpkin in a large pot with 5 of the cloves and cover with water.  Boil until pumpkin is tender.  Place potatoes in a medium pot with 3 of the cloves and cover with water.  Boil until potates are tender.

While vegetables are boiling, heat a skillet with the oil.  Saute onion and garlic until golden brown.  Add ground meat and saute until cooked through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add parsley and stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Strain potatoes and pumpkin and remove cloves.  In a food processor, whisk potatoes and pumpkin with butter until homogenous.  Add milk, egg and flour.  Process for another 2 minutes until thoroughly combined.  Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Process for another minute.

In a square casserole dish, spread half of the pumpkin and potato mixture on the bottom.  Place meat mixture on top.  Sprinkle 3 ounces of the cheese over the meat.  Spread the remaining pumpkin-potato mixture on top.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Garnish with more parsley.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes, to set.

Cut into squares and serve warm with a green salad.

A delicious summer meal.

Chef Mireille

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