Insanity begins innocently. In the kitchen, it is particularly insidious. Last weekend, for instance, Marvin Ogburn, owner of Long Meadow Farm, gave me a Hubbard squash. It’s smooth, grey-blue skin is alluring, and at roughly the size of a two year old, curled up for a nap, it demanded attention.
I got my huge Hubbard home and headed for the kitchen to roast it. Forty whacks with a cleaver got through the thick shell and I carved it into four parts. Seeds scooped out, I rubbed the exposed insides with olive oil, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and baked it for two hours at 400.
This is where the insanity begins.
Once roasted, the entire squash produced just over 16 cups of beautiful, burnt-orange pumpkin. Now, a man – or woman – can only bake so many pies. I had already made soup earlier that week. What to do with lots and lots of extra pumpkin?
What comes to mind first? Not pumpkin bread, cookies, or ravioli. No, quesadillas seemed to be the perfect solution. Rich, earthy, sweet pumpkin was balanced with sharp red onion, warmed with cumin, and given heat and smoke from chili powder and Spanish paprika. Spicy, rich, fatty Andouille and sharp, Amish cheddar cheese completed the experiment.
Four cups down, 12 to go. Stay turned for pumpkin pancakes…
• 1-2 links Andouille sausage, diced
• 1 tbs olive oil
• 1 medium red onion, diced
• 3 cups roasted, mashed Hubbard or Kabocha squash
• 1/2 tsp cumin
• 1/8 tsp chili powder
• 1/8 tsp Spanish paprika
• 1/4 cup vegetable stock
• 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
• Flour tortillas
• Cooked tomato salsa
• Cilantro or parsley, chopped
• Brown sausage in a large sauté pan over med-high. Remove to paper towels. Reduce heat to medium-low.
• Add 1 tbs olive oil to pan and sauté onion until soft, 3-5 minutes.
• Add pumpkin. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cumin, chili powder and paprika to taste. You may want more than the suggested amounts.
• Warm through, letting flavors develop. Some pumpkin will caramelize on the pan. Deglaze with stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Layer tortilla, cheese, pumpkin, sausage, more cheese and top with a tortilla.
• Heat 1 tbs oil in pan. Brown quesadilla on both sides.
• Serve with salsa and cilantro.