Today I have an impressive and tasty first course for your holiday table; baked pumpkin with wild mushrooms, apple and chestnuts. A healthy and easy dish, with favorite winter ingredients.
Pumpkin conquers slowly the Greek table. Until a few years ago very few housewives cooked dishes with pumpkin and most of them were limited to pies. Recently there are more and more recipes, many of them even are quite original. We also see more and more pumpkin varieties to the market.
The protagonist of Halloween, and all of pumpkin varieties, are included among the superfoods. It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. It has a high content of carotenoids (hence the bright orange color), which prevent the free radicals in the body and help prevent premature aging, cardiovascular diseases and other infections. But it is also rich in two very powerful antioxidants, the lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from free radicals and prevent the formation of cataracts and degeneration of the eye tissue. In addition, the pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, which boosts eye health and strengthens our immune system, and vitamin C, which gives it significant anti-aging, anti-cancer and immune properties. Magnesium, potassium and zinc contained in pumpkin help us to have strong bones and teeth, proper functioning of the heart and further regulate blood pressure.
The flesh of the pumpkin is very low in calories and contains copious amounts of extremely important dietary fiber. It is effective for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, such as constipation, dyspepsia etc. The high amount of fiber also helps to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood and in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Research scientists conducted in recent years suggest that the pumpkin regulates blood sugar levels, and prevents type 2 diabetes.
As for the remarkable properties of pumpkin seeds, you can read the Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds article.
The recipe calls for wild mushrooms. I chose to use a mixture of dried wild mushrooms, which I soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes. It contained chanterelles, bolets or Chile porcinis , pleurotous and lentinoulas. You will need 50-60gr. dried mushrooms to get 150g. fresh mushrooms. If you use dry mushrooms as well, soak and drain well before adding them to the food. Alternatively, instead of water, you can soak them in white wine.
Now let’s see the recipe:
Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Servings: 4 as a starter
- 2 small pumpkins, 700gr. approximately each
- 50gr unsalted butter
- 3-4 shallots, chopped
- 150gr. wild mushrooms of your choice (cleaned and cut depending on the type)
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
- 90gr. cooked and peeled chestnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh marjoram or thyme, chopped
- salt, pepper
- Your pumpkins should stand upright without leaning. Cut a little slice from the bottom if necessary to stand. Cut of the top (cap) and scoop out the seeds.
- Preheat the oven to 180oC.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes until soft, stirring them.
- Add the mushrooms and apples and sauté for a few minutes.
- Pour salt and pepper as desired, add the chestnuts and herbs and cook for 1 more minute.
- Season the inside of the pumpkin well and fill with the stuffing. Cover with the lid of the pumpkin, place it in a baking dish and bake it for about 1 hour, until the flesh of the pumpkin is well tendered.
Serve the pumpkin with green salad of your choice.
Recipe adapted from Delicious magazine.
Nutritional Facts per Serving
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