By Joanna Bastian
I had planned a column featuring all autumn quotes, such as this gem from Jack Kerouac: “Swinging on delicate hinges the autumn leaf almost off the stem.”
But then it snowed. Writing about autumn suddenly felt passé, like pumpkin spice latte.
Speaking of pumpkins — we roasted a pumpkin earlier this week and mashed up the softened flesh with a bit of butter, rosemary, sage and sea salt. The sweet and savory combination gave me an idea: pumpkin scones with turkey pumpkin chili.
You’ll need a total of three cups of pureed pumpkin for both recipes. Select a small- to medium-sized pumpkin and slice off the top. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour, or until skin is browned and knife easily inserts into pumpkin. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Scoop out seeds, peel off skin, and mash pumpkin flesh in a bowl.
1 stick of butter
10 fresh sage leaves
1 fresh rosemary sprig, leaves removed from stem
1 shallot, minced
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup whole milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 oz applewood-smoked Gruyere cheese, cut into small cubes
Finely chop the rosemary and sage. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan just until frothy. Stir in the fresh herbs and cook until just crisp and fragrant — about two minutes. Line a bowl with a paper towel and scrape the buttery herbs out of the pan and into the bowl to drain.
Melt another tablespoon of butter in the pan and cook shallot until translucent. Add pumpkin, salt, pepper, and ½ cup of the heavy cream. Stir in the herbs. Cook over low heat until excess liquid evaporates — about 5-10 minutes. Place in refrigerator to chill for one hour.
In large bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Using two forks, cut in 4 tablespoons of chilled, cubed butter. When mixture resembles coarse crumbs, add cheese, and toss to coat.
Add the rest of the heavy cream, milk, and chilled pumpkin mixture. Stir until just combined. Turn dough out onto floured surface and with floured hands, pat evenly into a 1-inch thick disc. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut scone dough into wedges and place on baking sheet. Melt the last two tablespoons of butter and brush over the top of the scones. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
These flaky lightweight scones go well with a hearty stew like turkey pumpkin chili. Warm two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a deep-sided pot over medium high heat. Add one red onion, one green bell pepper, and four cloves of garlic, all roughly chopped. When onion is translucent, crumble one pound of ground turkey into the pan and cook until brown. Add two cups of pureed pumpkin, a cup of frozen corn kernels, and 8 ounces of fire-roasted tomatoes. Season with a generous handful of chili powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until extra liquid from pumpkin has evaporated.
I don’t know how many calories are in the savory pumpkin scones. I’m a writer, not a mathematician. But there is an entire stick of butter and a respectable amount of cheese. Just run a turkey trot marathon after eating a batch and you’ll be fine.