Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween's inspiration...balsamic roasted pumpkin

As I mentioned earlier today on Martha Stewart Living radio, I LOVE me some Halloween (yes, including a few nibbles of candy corn here and there -- see last year's post on Halloween treats). I also love pumpkin and generally have a mild obsession with it from September through November. Pumpkin's packed with good nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins A and C and for a mere 49 calories a cup, you can't really go wrong.
Instead of the standard pumpkin breads, cookies and muffins, I decided to tackle pumpkin in it's entirety a few weeks back (it's not easy chopping up a whole pumpkin no matter how good your knife is). What came out of my chopping session was a recipe so delicious, I can't stop thinking about it. Taste-test it for yourself...
Balsamic Roasted Pumpkin with Lentils, Goat Cheese & Crispy Fried Shallots
Makes 4-6 servings

1 small to medium pumpkin, chopped and peeled *if it's too difficult to peel prior to roasting, allow pumpkin to cool and remove skin afterwards
1 cup dried French lentils
4 oz goat cheese (1 small log)
1 shallot, peeled and cut into thin rounds or half-moon shapes
olive oil for "frying" the shallots
1-2 Tbsp olive oil for drizzling, extra for roasting
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Soak lentils for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, toss pumpkin with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and season lightly with salt.
Spread on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and roast until soft, about 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook lentils in salted, boiling water until soft, about 30 minutes.
Heat balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan on medium-low and reduce to about half, about 10-15 minutes.
Pour about 1 inch worth of olive oil into a small-medium heavy pan or skillet (enough oil to cover shallots). Heat oil over medium-high and fry shallots for 3 to 5 minutes until crispy, golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil on a paper towel.
Toss pumpkin with balsamic reduction and mix with lentils and goat cheese. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and garnish with crispy shallots.

On tap for tomorrow is the food-filled recap of my weekend in Madison, WI and the ridiculously awesome Dane Co. farmers market!

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