Chow Town

Results (and recipes) from Chef Jasper’s Great 2013 Pumpkin Challenge

Last month, I gave you, my readers, a recipe challenge. I asked that you use a local pumpkin to create a recipe and start a new tradition for your family’s table.

I had offered recipe contest for the past four years on my local radio show, Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen, on Facebook and Twitter. Each time, I would receive around 20 recipes.

For some odd reason, either it was the name “The Great 2013 Pumpkin Challenge” or just good PR and word of mouth, but recipes begin coming in my email immediately from day one and now, 30 days later, we have the results from more than 60 submissions.

Recipes for pumpkin used in pancakes, bread, soups, appetizers, on top of roast, in cookies, cakes, prepared with liquor, as a pasta, a risotto and even a candy bar were submitted. To tell you that I was overwhelmed is an understatement.

I begin sorting through the recipes and until this past Thursday had a hard time choosing the top four.

When I finally did decide, the top four recipes were tested and in all my years of judging recipes this may have been the hardest decision I have ever made. I even consulted with my assistant and chef Marvin Lewis and my radio co-host Kimberley Winters Stern.

The winning recipes include a main dish, a side dish, a dessert recipe and a liqueur.

The winners are listed below, in no certain order. They all could easily be number one and out of fairness, I am awarding four first place awards.

I do hope you enjoy the recipes and congratulations to the four winners. The Great Pumpkin Challenge is now over and it’s time for you to enjoy the fruits of their labor. As my father always said “Bere Mangiare Bene” which translates as Eat Drink Well!

The Great 2013 Pumpkin Challenge Winners Recipes
Smoked Pumpkin Risotto

Submitted by Dave Eckert

2 pie pumpkins 1 cup wild mushrooms 2 teaspoon butter

Smoke two small pie pumpkins over apple or cherry wood for two hours over low heat (150-175 degrees.) Clean out pumpkins, removing all seeds. Roughly chop the smoked pumpkin meat. Cut wild mushroom mix into bite-size chunks and sauté in butter 3-4 minutes. Reserve.

1 cup Arborio rice 2 teaspoon butter 4 cups chicken stock 1/2 cup dry white wine (not chardonnay) Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup pine nuts Italian parsley

In a large sauté pan, heat butter on medium heat. Add rice and toast for to the three minutes. Add wine. Begin adding chicken broth at this time. Cook rice 20-25 minutes or until risotto is creamy and just a bit al’dente, adding chicken stock as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add smoked pumpkin meat and mushrooms, stir and serve. Garnish with pine nuts and fresh minced parsley

Suggested wine pairing: Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris or King Estate Oregon Pinot Gris

Pumpkin Ale Roasted Pork Shanks

Submitted by Chad Tilman

4 Pork Shanks Salt and pepper to taste 1 medium onion minced 16 baby carrots 2 stalks celery minced 7-10 fresh sage leaves 4 sprigs fresh thyme 1 cinnamon stick 2 bottles of Schlafly Pumpkin Beer 2 cups of chicken stock

Season fresh pork shanks with salt, brown the shanks until golden brown.

Remove from pan and in a baking dish place onion, carrots and celery on the bottom. Make a fresh herb bouquet consisting of sage, thyme and half of a cinnamon stick, placing it in the bottom of dish with vegetables. Place the shanks on top of the vegetables. Add the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale to the baking dish. Add stock to cover the shanks. Cover and place in a 350 degree F oven for 3 to 4 hours or until tender. Serve with smashed maple buttered butternut squash and cranberry apple and pecan chutney.

Chocolate Lover’s Pumpkin Pie

Submitted by Lisa Waterman Grey

One 9-inch pie crust 1/2 cup dark semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted in double boiler 16 ounces pumpkin puree 1 can low fat evaporated milk 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 eggs slightly beaten 1 teaspoon flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 cup dark semi-sweet chocolate chips, ground fine in food processor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crust 10 minutes while melting chocolate chips. Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Using a pastry brush spread half of the melted chocolate across the entire crust, including the edge. Combine all other ingredients except ground chocolate chips. Fold in chocolate chips and fill shell; it will be very full. Bake pie approximately one hour or until filling surface is slightly firm to the touch. Cool one hour on wire rack and then for half hour in refrigerator. Reheat melted chocolate in double boiler. Use pastry brush to ‘paint’ the pie top with remaining chocolate. Cool at least 15 more minutes and then serve.

Pumpkincello Liqueur

Submitted by Vicki Blessoe

1 pie pumpkin 1 liter vodka 12 allspice berries 1 green cardamom pod 1 cinnamon stick Frating of fresh nutmeg 2 cups whole milk 1 cup sugar

Cut up the pumpkin. Remove the seeds, rinse and toast them for a later snack. Reserve the flesh and strings. Put the flesh and strings into a non-reactive container, and pour vodka over them to cover. Let sit for at least a week — the longer it sits, the stronger it gets. After your vodka is infused, pour it through a strainer to remove the pumpkin. Toast the spices in a cast iron skillet until fragrant, and put in a sauce pan. Add the sugar and milk and heat over medium-low to medium, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Strain the spices from the milk, then add to the vodka.

Pour into pint jars for holiday gifts or be selfish and hoard it all in a larger bottle in your fridge. You can also put the spices in with the pumpkin to infuse if you want your spice flavor to be much stronger. As a bonus, roast your pumpkin seeds with maple sugar and salt for a tasty snack.

Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s commands the helm of his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM and sells a line of dressings and sauces.