Sunday: Sugar Pumpkin, Feta, and Cilantro Quesadillas

Here’s my inspiration (this time found at Bon Appétit, by way of the Zestful Gardens newsletter), as well as my personal editing (I’m taking out these parts of the published recipe, and adding in these parts), based on what I actually have on hand:

Sugar Pumpkin, Feta, and Cilantro Quesadillas
Bon Appétit, October 2009
6 servings
Recipe by Ross Dobson

Photograph by William Meppem Photograph by William Meppem

Ingredients

  • 3 cups 1 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (from about half a 2-pound whole pumpkin)
  • 1 2 cubes frozen finely chopped seeded jalapeño (about 2 tablespoons), thawed
  • 12 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas
  • 10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges

Preparation:

  1. Cook pumpkin in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool 10 minutes. While pumpkin is still warm, transfer to processor; puree until smooth. Stir in jalapeño; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Divide pumpkin mixture equally among 6 tortillas (about 1/4 cup per tortilla) and spread evenly. Sprinkle feta over each. Top each with 1/4 cup cilantro and sprinkle with black pepper. Top with second tortilla.
  3. Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook quesadillas until golden and dark char marks appear, about 1 minute per side. Serve with lime wedges.

Partially Chopped Pumpkin

The first time we tried this recipe, Travis didn’t know how to identify the difference between a pumpkin and a kabocha squash (which are often deep green, but also come in orange).  However, I had specifically put a sugar pumpkin recipe on the menu because we had a pumpkin leftover from the share before.  So although this recipe is great with kabocha, I was disappointed that we didn’t use the pumkin.  That is, I was disappointed until that pumpkin was still good weeks later and we used it for pumpkin soup…

Anyway, this time we’re actually making the recipe almost to order.  I chopped & froze jalapeno ice cubes a few weeks ago, which I must admit was an experiment on my part – it somehow seems odd to me to freeze something that loves the heat so much when it’s growing.  But I couldn’t see a reason not to try it, and I was afraid that the peppers would start to go bad if I didn’t preserve them somehow.  Freezing seemed a lot faster than pickling!

The jalapenos sure didn’t lose any of their fire in the freezer.  Trav even noticed that they were “warmer” than he expected.  I have to eat these quesadillas with a thin layer of the jalapeno-pumpkin mixture and extra feta to balance out the heat, but I still like them a lot.  Travis creates them in our Cuisinart Griddler, and  instead of the flat (folded in 1/2 or using 2 tortillas) version that I generally think of when imagining quesadillas, they are almost burrito-esque in their construction.  I actually prefer them this way, since they’re easier to eat (the toppings don’t spill out the sides this way).  Trav can pack about 8 burrito-shaped quesadillas on the griddler and they’re done in a matter of minutes.  I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of how it looks – I’ll try to get one next time!

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