Pumpkin Pilaf

This exotic pilaf will be welcome on the Thanksgiving table and throughout the winter months. The spices are potent but not overbearing, and combined with the lightly fried rice grains, chewy raisins, glowing orange cubes of pumpkin and the bright wedges of lemon to squeeze over each serving, it’s a beautiful dish. Butternut squash can be used pretty much anywhere you might use pumpkin, and in this pilaf, it might almost be preferable, because butternut is always dense, never watery.

Sharon Bowers

Pumpkin Pilaf

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    3 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon allspice
    1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced 3 cups chicken stock (if using low-sodium stock, add 3/4 teaspoon salt)
    2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup raisins or golden raisins
    1 1/2 cups white rice 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    2 cups diced pumpkin or butternut squash (cut into 1/2-inch cubes) Freshly ground black pepper
    1 cinnamon stick Salt
    1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds Lemon wedges (as garnish)
    1/4 teaspoon turmeric


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    • 1

      Put the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet that has a tight-fitting lid. Cook the onions and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the onions soften but are not browned. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the rice grains start to lightly brown in the oil. Add the pumpkin cubes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the edges of some cubes are lightly browned.

    • 2

      Add the cinnamon stick, the cumin seeds, turmeric and allspice, and raisins and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock and stir in the raisins. Cover with the lid and cook for 20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the pumpkin is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding black pepper and salt as needed, then sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over each serving.

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