Saturday, July 16, 2011

Moroccan Jeweled Chili with Pumpkin Cornbread

I am breaking my general rule of "no pumpkin flavored baked goods" tonight by adding some roasted pumpkin into my cornbread. I think it is my profession that ruined any small ounce of desire I had for pumpkin pastries. When fall comes around, everyone wants pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, quick bread, cheesecake, this, that and anything you can image with pumpkin shoved in it somehow. So not only do I get worn out on it, but the smell of opening multiple 10 pound cans of pumpkin at 5am really rubs me the wrong way.
That being said, I've found that I am much more apt to try pumpkin treats when roasting the pumpkin myself. It takes more time and effort sure, but the reward is true, fresh, bright flavor and an overall better product.

This spiced chickpea chili is studded with dried apricots and dates which soak up all the flavorful broth that is created using onions, eggplant, orange pepper, tomatoes and zucchini. The dried fruit adds an amazing natural sweetness that is not to be missed, so don't skip out! Serve with pumpkin cornbread and a drizzle of molasses.

Moroccan Jeweled Chili
serves 4-6
1 small eggplant, half peeled, medium dice
1 zucchini, medium dice
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, medium dice
1 orange bell pepper, medium dice
2 carrots, small dice
1 celery stalk, small dice
1 tbl ground coriander
1 tbl cinnamon
1 tbl cumin
2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tbl tomato paste
8 turkish dried apricots, quartered
12 neglect pitted dates, halved
2-15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Sprinkle the zucchini and eggplant with 1 tsp of salt in a colander and let drain of excess moisture.
Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onions and bell peppers for 5 minutes until they start to soften. Add the carrots and celery and saute 5 minutes more. Add the eggplant and zucchini and saute 5 minutes more until the eggplant starts to brown. Add the coriander, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt, garlic and tomato paste. Toss to combine and cook for 3 minutes. Next add the apricots, dates, chickpeas, tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.
Stir in half of the cilantro and garnish with the remainder.

Pumpkin Cornbread
1 1/2 lb pumpkin, cut into wedges
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbl agave
1 tbl egg replacer powder
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 cup medium ground cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
canola spray
molasses, optional

Preheat the oven to 425. Drizzle with 1 tbl oil and wrap in a foil pouch. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the pumpkin is soft. Let cool and remove the skin from the meat. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside 1 1/4 cup of puree.
Reduce the heat to 400. Place an 8x8 baking sheet or muffin tin in the oven to heat up.
Whisk together 1 cup of pumpkin, 2 tbl oil, almond milk, agave, egg replacer and water in a bowl.
In another bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Gently whisk the wet into the dry. Remove the baking dish from the oven and grease with canola spray. Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Drizzle with molasses when serving.

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