Pumpkins – Not Just for Carving!
Two things absolutely synonymous with the season are pumpkins and the color combo of black-and-orange. This appetizer recipe uses pumpkins and the black-and-orange theme to make an easy appetizer that works perfectly for any autumnal parties between now and Thanksgiving!
Although this time of year pumpkins are most often used to create Jack O’Lanterns, many varieties are also delicious for cooking. “Carving pumpkins” are bred to be hollow and to stand upright after being carved. However, they would be watery and stringy if cooked. Baking or pie pumpkins are sweeter and have more meaty flesh. Make sure you use the appropriate pumpkin variety for this appetizer or you might be a bit disappointed with the results. You can substitute butternut squash for the following recipe, but if you have a nice sugar pumpkin just waiting to be eaten, this recipe is pretty and delicious!
Pumpkin Pumpernickel Appetizers
One baking (or pie) pumpkin, or a butternut squash
Salt & pepper
Fresh sage and chives
Pumpernickel bread slices
Shallot & Chive Boursin Cheese, or a creamy goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Slice the pumpkin into wedges to make it easier to handle. Peel the pumpkin and cut into ½ inch cubes.
Toss the cubed pumpkin (or peeled and cubed butternut squash) with a little olive oil, one clove of finely minced garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Spread the pumpkin cubes on a non-stick-foil-lined baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes. You want the pumpkin to be soft and lightly browned, but not mushy. Note that butternut squash will cook a lot quicker than pumpkin (about 20 minutes) – adjust your timing accordingly.
While the pumpkin is roasting, harvest some sage and chives from your herb garden and finely mince.
When the pumpkin is done, drizzle with some walnut oil and toss gently with the sage and chives. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
Lightly toast pumpernickel bread slices. I like to cut the toasted bread into circles with a cookie cutter – just to make the presentation a bit prettier. Spread the slices with some Boursin leaving about ½-inch of the bread showing on the sides.
Top with some of the baked pumpkin and you’ve got a delicious Halloween-colored appetizer! Serve warm. If you aren’t going to serve the appetizer immediately, you should gently reheat the pumpkin cubes in the microwave just before serving.
Although I’m a strong advocate of substituting ingredients, don’t be quick to substitute another bread for the pumpernickel. Aside from the dramatic color contrasts, the headiness of the pumpernickel perfectly offsets the sweetness of the pumpkin and the savory flavor of the Boursin.
BerkshireStyle readers enjoy trying nature’s bounty that each season has to offer.