The days are getting cooler, in fact, it has been downright cold – with nightime temperatures hovering in the teens and low twenties. The beast, our fireplace, is being fed regularly. We can barely keep up with the demand for more wood. On our daily walks we are definitely reminded that Fall is here and Winter just around the corner. The smell of pinon wood smoke in the crisp Fall air beckons one to spend time indoors in front of a warming fire.
A few days ago we had a last opportunity to take in the the last glimpses of a Fall scenery along the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, NM. Here are just a few pictures to share with you. They were taken at the Rio Grande Nature Center.
The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly North winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The Fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway —
Thanksgiving comes gain.
Fall weather invites all of us to not only spend more time indoors but to look inside of ourselves and reflect on just where we find ourselves. Where have our decisions taken us, where are we going? Are we content, or are we looking to make changes? What is most important to us and what are we truly thankful for? There are no doubt as many scenarios as there are people. These are interesting and exciting times, filled with possibilities and opportunities, if we choose to take them. For many people this is a time filled with great challenges. Yet, each challenge also offers the opportunity of change and the discovery of a truer self. As the trees shed their leaves each Fall, it also invites each and every one of us to let go of what no longer serves us. In turn, we can see ourselves anew with a fresh perspective, birthing a renewal in spirit and the ability of giving and receiving of more love. LOVE is what we are truly thankful for this season. What are you thankful for?
Thanksgiving being just around the corner, this naturally offers greater togetherness with family and friends, since it is also the beginning of the holiday season. In the spirit of sharing, we are offering a recipe each day leading up to Thanksgiving. There will be a variety of main dishes, side dishes, appetizers, desserts and refreshments. We are focusing on simple and easy to duplicate dishes, the first of which is our Fall Pumpkin Stew with Caramelized Onions.
It is a fairly simple dish to make but requires a little prep. time. It will provide for 6 large servings. You will need the following ingredients:
Pumpkin Stew with Caramelized Onions:
- 2 Pie pumpkins
- 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 5 medium-sized red potatoes
- 32 oz. (1 quart) vegetable broth
- 1 red onion
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- several sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. no-salt herb seasoning
- 1 tsp. Himalaya salt
- 1 tsp. sucanat
- coconut oil for caramelizing the onions
The longest prep. time involves baking the pumpkins. Cut the pumpkins in half. You will need a very sharp knife, so mind the fingers in the process. Scoop out the seeds and set aside. Place the pumpkins, cut side facing down, on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350°F/180°C oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. While they are baking, wash the sweet and red potatoes, peel and cut them into roughly l-inch cubes. Place them into a large stock pot, or saucepan with at least 1-inch water, and steam until tender (about 25 minutes). Set the potatoes aside. Remove the baked pumpkins, scoop out the flesh and add it to the steamed potatoes together with the vegetable stock, salt, curry, no-salt herb seasoning and chili powder. Cook over medium heat.
Meanwhile, wash the pumpkin seeds and remove and remaining stringy flesh. Let them dry, place on a cookie sheet or glass baking dish, coat the seeds with a little extra curry and chili powder, as well as a little salt, and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. If you prefer, you can also season the seeds with a gluten free tamari sauce, or, if you prefer them sweet, with 1 tsp. cinnamon and a dusting of sucanat. They turn out great either way.
Peel and cut half of the red onion and one whole yellow onion into thin slices (rings). Add a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil into a frying pan. Heat and add the onions. Cook over medium heat. Wait until the onions are translucent and then coat them with 1 tsp. of sucanat. Continue to brown (caramelize) them over medium heat only. Transfer to a oven proof dish and place them in a warm oven to keep warm until the stew is done.
Cut the remaining half of the red onion as well as the peeled cloves of garlic into small pieces and cook separately in a saucepan with a little coconut oil until they are well done and translucent. Add these to the stew together with the fresh thyme.
Combine all ingredients well and let simmer for another 20 minutes. If you wish, you can remove the thyme pieces before serving. Taste the stew and add any additional salt, curry or chili powder, to taste. Serve in soup bowls topped with the caramelized onions.
This stew is a tasty, warming and flavorful addition to our Fall lineup of recipes.