Spicy pumpkin and bean stew

I still haven’t learned my lesson with pumpkins and how much water they give off when you cook them. Eventually I’ll figure it out, but until them I appear to be doomed to have watery pumpkin dishes. In the end it didn’t turn out too badly. It was just a bit more of a soup than I’d intended it to be…

Anyway, on to the recipe. I’m afraid this is another one I didn’t measure very carefully.

What I used

Lots of cinnamon (about 5cm)
Two dried red chillis
About half a tbsp of coarse sea salt
1/4 cup sunflower oil
Three small white onions
Lots of chopped pumpkin (maybe a bit under a kilo?)
Two cans of red kidney beans

What I did

First of all I had a pumpkin to dismember. As I’ve probably mentioned, my mother grows an awful lot of pumpkins. This is great, but when we have a large number of them we don’t manage to sell it means that there’s an awful lot of pumpkin to process.

This is normally a massive chore, but I for christmas I was given some extremely nice knives. All three of which tout themselves as the “World’s sharpest knife”, supplied by the rather dubiously named Twin Towers Trading (I can’t view their site because a) They’re idiots who don’t know how to correctly design a site and b) I don’t have flash installed). Sounds like it’s the lead up to a massive joke and/or disaster, doesn’t it?

It actually didn’t. These turned out to be really good. The serrated carving knife in particular is scarily effective and cuts through the pumpkin almost effortlessly.

Good lord. I sound like an advert. But seriously, it’s true. These things are great.

So, summary version for those of you whose eyes glazed over: One large pumpkin rendered into conveniently sized chunks. A lot of time spent, but relatively little effort. Most of it was bagged for later use or turned into soup, but the aforementioned about a kilo went into making this dinner.

Next, the spices. I dry fried the cinnamon and chillis (having broken them up suitably) and then powdered them in a mortar and pestle with the salt. Yes, this is exactly as much work as you think it is. I really need to get a spice grinder. (I suspect I’ve complained about this before, but blogger is currently down so I can’t actually check. Also on to do list: Make local copies of my blog posts)

Towards the end of this my mother pointed out that the food processor had a mini attachment that would work well for spices. I looked skeptical, but was fed up so decided to give it a try. It worked about as well as I expected. Worse yet, it managed to not screw up in an entertaining fashion which I could relate to my enthralled audience. It just didn’t do anything to them. At this point I declared the spices to be good enough.

Anyway, I now had a food processor that was going to need washing up anyway, and after two long and involved tasks I didn’t really feel like chopping onions, so I just shoved them in the processor.

Now, obvious things ensued. Heat oil, add the onions, fry for about 5 minutes. Yawn. Add the powdered spice mix, fry for another five minutes. Taste the fried onion to make sure I’m not about to poison people (I wasn’t. Mmm… cinnamon and chilli).

More standard obviousness continues. I added the pumpkin and fried for another five minutes. Added the beans and fried for another five minutes.

Hmm. At this point the recipe book says ‘bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer’. Errr… what? There’s no water in this recipe. I double checked it and confirmed. No water. This presents me with a dilemma: Am I supposed to boil the pumpkin? How do I do that? Wikipedia lists the boiling point of carbon at about 4000k, and my oven barely reaches half that temperature!

Instead I resort to covering it and sticking it in the hot oven to see what would happen. After about 5-10 minutes I was somewhat skeptical about whether or not it was really doing anything, so I added boiling water to half cover the pumpkin and put it back in. This did indeed cook it, but of course once the pumpkin started cooking it began giving off its own water, ending up with what was really closer to a pumpkin soup. After about twenty minutes I uncovered it and put it back for another 15 in an attempt to reduce it a bit. This rather failed, but never mind.


This was really nice. I should have used less water of course (probably about half a cup of boiling water to start it off with steaming is enough), but the taste was great. The cinnamon was my own addition, and I consider it to be a total success – this would have been boring without it.

So, if you have prechopped pumpkin (and I’m going to for ages now) and a sane way of grinding spices then this is a low work recipe which tastes great. Definitely a winner.

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One thought on “Spicy pumpkin and bean stew

  1. Boofy

    My god! We just had a friend get back to Australia from England, having purchased “The Worlds Shaperst Knife’ from twin towers trading (!). We thought she’d been taken for a ride – the worlds sharpest knife indeed. How ridiculous. Let alone the ridiculous cucumber shaper that came free with it. For twenty pounds as well. As if. So the last thing I expected, when I googled what the hell she had brought, was that they were really good (our friend’s knives remain unused and so she could not vouch for them).

    Anyway – nice blog. I’m bookmarking it. I really like your writing. By the way, she also go ‘World’s smallest Juicer’. Surely that really is crap. Has anyone tried it?

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