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Oops, I goofed. Seriously. About a month ago I was at the grocery store with Chris and we happened to be moseying down the health food aisle when I suddenly I caught a glimpse of something fantastic. Health food on sale. And not just a few cents off, dollars off. Oh yeah! So there sat a row of organic non-GMO pumpkin purée cans, neatly stacks and labels with a glorying orange sticker on the front declaring $0.24. $0.24! Can you believe it?
I stared grabbing them by the armful, filling my reusable bag to the top. But then Chris stopped me. And he suggested I just try one. Ugh, minimalists… Anyways, as my mom began cooking up a heart beef stew for my grandparents tonight, I decided to make my own vegan stew.
On Pinterest I had seen a pumpkin chili/stew creation and looking into my cupboard, low and behold, was my one lovely and neglected can of pumpkin purée. So I’m chopping and dicing and un-canning and just as I'm about to throw in the pumpkin purée, I give it a quick sniff. You gotta know what fragrances these things are gonna add to your dish.
I bring the tin can to my nose, creamy and luscious purée dripping down the sides, and I smell a familiar smell. Nutmeg and cinnamon and sugar.
It smelled incredible. It smelled divine. It smelled like Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.
I turned to read the label and sure enough it was not just pumpkin purée it was pumpkin PIE purée. I tasted a little and promised myself to pick up some cans when I plan to make pumpkin pie next fall. Despite all this, I added a couple spoons into my stew, fearful of the result, but still hoping for a tasty pumpkin stew.
And while I was at it I also raided the cupboard and found a sad can of French-style green beans, a tater tot hot dish staple forgotten from the lay time my dash made his midwestern casserole. What the hell? I threw in those beans, too. After I’d boiled some brown rice and the time had finally come to eat my pumpkin stew creation, I was a little scared, thinking I’d massively butchered my stew and sabotaged my stomach of a good dinner. But, one bite and I realized that all the flavours came together.
It wasn't sweet like pie and it wasn’t salty like the canned beans. It was surprisingly awesome! Rich, comforting, hearty and completely meatless. It’s just what you need as a dinner time staple before you head back outside to shovel the driveway yet again. Does it ever stop snowing in Canada? At least I know this stew will give me the strength to keep going all winter long. Yup, that’s right. Pumpkin isn’t just for autumn. Pie mix isn't just for pies. Mind, blown.
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Pumpkin Stew *Makes four servings*
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 bell peppers (assorted colours), chopped
1 can of Romano beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 can pumpkin pie purée
1 can French-style green beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chunky salsa
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 cups water
Drizzle of balsamic glaze
Heat olive oil and butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add spices and chili flakes.
Toss in the chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes until slightly tender.
Add the diced peppers and salt. Cover and let steam for five minutes.
Add in drained Romano beans, green beans and sauté for several minutes.
Add the pumpkin purée, bouillon cube, water and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Cover and let stew for 30 minutes over medium heat. Scoop over a bowl of brown rice and let yourself be surprised at this dish’s awesomeness.
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