Salty's Seafood Grills
Pumpkins are great in pies of course but did you know they are great in savory dishes too?

Kitchen Talk: Your New British Pop Star, Pumpkin Spice!

By Chef Jeremy McLachlan

♫ "So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha)
I wanna really, really, really wanna pumpkin recipe ah!"♫

How do you know fall is in the air? Is it the changing leaf colors, the evening starting at 4:00 p.m. or your Columbia sportswear jacket making its way back to the front of your closet? I know fall is in the air because of the wonderful pumpkin spice showing up in everything. Even McDonald's is getting into it with testing pumpkin-spiced fries! I still have two burning questions in all this, What the hell is pumpkin spice and where is the pumpkin? For those of you who do not know, pumpkin spice is a blend of spices that are commonly used in pumpkin pie filling and include cinnamon, cloves and ginger. So where is the pumpkin? I love pumpkin and I think it is one of the most underutilized gourds around (excluding knobby-decoration gourds, obviously). It's really good for you as Kathy Kingen says in her Scaring Stingy Jack blog. Pumpkins make everyone think of Halloween Jack O'Lantern carving and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Did you know that pumpkins are great as savory dishes? Below I will show you how to make a pumpkin risotto that is absolutely to die for (ha) paired with chicken, fish or grilled vegetables…because I really wanna pumpkin recipe ah!

I Wanna Pumpkin Risotto

Serves 8

8 cups chicken stock, low sodium
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 cups carnaroli or aborio rice (carnaroli is better but more expensive)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 glasses white wine, 8 ounces each (1 for you, 1 for the risotto)
2 cups roasted pumpkin puree, recipe follows
NO pumpkin spice, dang it!!!
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt to taste
1/4 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
1 tablespoon pumpkin oil, for garnish

  1. In a medium sauce pan over low heat add chicken broth and let come to simmer and then keep warm.
  2. In a large sauce pan on medium heat add olive oil and onions and cook until translucent. Add rice and cook 3-4 minutes or until rice is slightly toasted. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  3. Drink your glass of wine.
  4. Add second glass of wine to rice and stir with wooden spoon until all the wine has evaporated.
  5. Add 1 cup of simmering chicken stock to rice and stir until it has evaporated. Repeat this process until all the chicken stock is used.
  6. YES, you have to stir constantly!!!

Once the rice is soft and has a nice chew, add the roasted pumpkin puree, butter and Parmesan and turn off heat. Mix well and finish with salt.
Garnish with pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin oil.

Roasted Pumpkin Puree

2 sugar pie pumpkins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut your pumpkins in half and remove the seeds.
  3. Place pumpkins on cookie sheet with skin side down.
  4. Drizzle olive oil on the flesh and season with salt.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the flesh is nice and tender.
  6. Remove from oven and scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and puree in a food processor until smooth. Reserve.

(Author of Kitchen Talk, Jeremy McLachlan is also Corporate Chef for Salty's Seafood Grill restaurant group. He says: My love is to create great dishes with fresh seafood, as we are a seafood restaurant, but not forget the meat lovers. My goal is to match exceptional food with our incredible views. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have an abundance of regional treasures. The use of these fresh ingredients is key to Salty's Northwest cuisine. If you have any questions about cooking, feel free to email me at chef@saltys.com.)

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