Craft CookingFood & Drink

Pumpkin Recipes Using Carving Leftovers by Two Charlotte Chefs

All Hallow's eats with Chef Joya and Chef Alyssa Wilen

pumpkin recipe
Chef Joya’s pumpkin recipe: empanadas. (Photo by Kristen Stegall/Novice Studios)

Besides pie, when you think of consuming pumpkin, you most likely think of beers and lattes. Here’s the thing, though: Pumpkin spice isn’t pumpkin, it’s an artificial flavoring. We wanted to know some new ways to make use of all those pumpkin guts after carving our jack-o-lanterns, so we reached out to two of the best chefs to see what ideas they’ve got for a great pumpkin recipe.

Adjoa Courtney, known professionally as Chef Joya, rose to popularity with her web series Cooking With Joya. The longtime vegan chef has since released four cookbooks, including It’s Soul Mahmazing! Vol. 1 and From My Ancestors’ Table. Her vegan pumpkin empanadas are a perfect recipe for Halloween get-togethers.

Vegan Pumpkin Empanadas

What you need:

  • 10 Empanada premade dough discs with annatto (thawed)
  • 12 oz. of vegan ground meat
  • 3 tablespoons of green sofrito (make your own with recipe in From My Ancestors’ Table: African & Caribbean Vegan Food For The Soul)
  • 1 tbsp. of grapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsps. of pumpkin purée
  • 1 packet of sazon
  • 1 tbsp. of Chef Joya’s Red House Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz. of vegan mozzarella
  • 2 cups of oil for frying
pumpkin recipe
Chef Joya presents her pumpkin empanadas. (Photo by Kristen Stegall/Novice Studios)

What to do:

  1. Add grapeseed oil to a saucepan. Add vegan ground meat, vegan Worcestershire and Red House seasoning.
  2. Cook for two minutes. Add sazon, sofrito and pumpkin purée. Cook for two minutes.
  3. Heat oil to 350 degrees.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture and 1 tablespoon of cheese to half of the dough disc. Wet the edges with water and fold over. Seal with a fork. Add to oil and fry for 1 min.
  5. Drain on a paper towel and enjoy.

Alyssa Wilen cooked for her entire life leading up to 2013, when she launched Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen with her husband Andrew. CAK has won multiple awards and recently moved into a custom-made, state-of-the-art kitchen in South End where they serve patrons and host classes. In 2020, Alyssa and her team pivoted with a home-delivery service, continuing to serve their loyal fanbase despite a pandemic.

Chef Alyssa’s pumpkin risotto with sage oil is a simple but classy dish that will impress whomever you serve.

Chef Alyssa's Kitchen, pumpkin recipe
Chef Alyssa in the kitchen. (Photo courtesy of C.A.K.)

Pumpkin risotto with sage oil

What you need:

  • 1 pound pumpkin such as a butterkin or sugar baby
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
  • ½ yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½ cups Anson Mills Vialone Nano Risotto Rice (or Arborio)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (about 2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Sage oil (recipe follows)

What to do:

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and dice the pumpkin to medium (¼”) pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with half the olive oil (2 tbsp.) and some salt.
  3. Spread onto a lined sheet tray and roast in the center of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until very tender.
  4. When ready, transfer half into a bowl and mash with a fork or pastry cutter and set aside.
  5. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the stock/water so it is nearby and ready as you need it.
  6. In a separate heavy, wide 4- to 6-quart pot, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them until translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
  7. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the edges of the grains are transparent, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the wine, stirring frequently, until the wine is absorbed by the rice. Do not let the rice dry out; about 2 minutes.
  9. Add about 2 cups of the warm broth, stirring throughout the time it cooks, until most of the liquid is absorbed; 6 to 8 minutes.
  10. Continue to add more broth to cover the rice as it gets absorbed, but before the rice gets too dry, until it is tender.
  11. Your risotto is done when the grains are cooked through and “al dente.”
  12. Stir in the mashed and diced roasted pumpkin, butter, cheese and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve with sage oil spooned over top.
pumpkin recipe
Chef Alyssa’s pumpkin recipe: risotto with sage oil. (Photo by Alyssa Wilen)

Sage oil:

  • ½ cup fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Puree the sage, oil, lemon juice, honey and salt together in a blender until smooth.
Line a mesh strainer basket with cheesecloth over a bowl. Pour the oil into the basket and leave in the refrigerator to slowly drain.

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