Long Overdue Pumpkin Beer Tasting- Round Two

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Ok, here’s the deal- round 2 of my pumpkin beer tasting did not go as planned. 75th street brewery, which has been my gold standard for pumpkin beer for years, wouldn’t fill my beer growler this year. Suddenly they aren’t selling their seasonal beers in growlers any more (you can only drink it at the bar of restaurant). Dang. The whole reason I bought their growler was to drink lots of their pumpkin beer at home. Sigh…

We carried on like all beer drinkers should and did a “Last Beer Standing” match between O’Fallen and Schlafly. Here’s how it went down.

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John chose to eat dinner while we tasted.

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After much drinking and sniffing, we gave Schlafly…

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Autumn Color: 3 out of 4
Pumpkin Flavor: 1
Seasonal Taste: 1 (we were much harder on it the second time)
Overall Rating: 2

For O’Fallen…

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Autumn Color: 1.5
Pumpkin Flavor: 2 (noted a subtle nutmeg)
Seasonal Taste: 3
Overall Rating: 3

So- O’Fallen Pumpkin was our top winner this year, but next year we are going to get serious about this! More pumpkin beers and perhaps a gathering…that could be fun!

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere: Wild Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

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I know it’s December, but the pumpkin-ness continues at our house with a new recipe from Vegetarian Times, a Wild-Rice Stuffed Pumpkin.

I have to admit the whenever cooking dinner involves scraping out a pumpkin I groan a little. Dissecting the mighty orange orb is not an easy task, although it looks very impressive when finished.

Needless to say I marched on determined to stuff this pumpkin with yummy goodness.

Ok, first you should know that the recipe was for 12 servings. I assume they assumed you were making this for Thanksgiving or a grand dinner party (Lyn, it might work out well for your Meatless Monday Dinners).

I was making it for 3 people, so I had to do some math. It started with buying a 3-4 pound pumpkin instead of a 6-8 pound pumpkin. I rinsed him off and set him aside.

Then I cooked 2 servings of wild-rice according to directions. Then I transferred it to a medium sized mixing bowl.

Then I lightly steamed in 2 handfuls of fresh spinach by bringing a 1/2 cup of water to boil in the bottom of a skillet, then cooked the spinach for 4 minutes or until it wilted.

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After draining the spinach and I let it cool in the colander while I chopped the veg: 1 1/2 cups of mushrooms, 1/4 of a large onion, 1/4 cup of celery, and 6cloves of garlic. I reduced to 3, because the mega recipe calls for 9, but in the future I will go with the 9 recommended for a flavor boost.

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Add it to the skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and your spices: 1teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of sage. Then I sautéed it all for 10 minutes.

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While things are sautéing, it’s time to gut the pumpkin. I have to admit I was dreading this part. I hate dealing with those little strands and can’t figure out any tricks– if you have any let me know!

Come here little pumpkin, pumpkin….

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Once the 10 minutes were up, I added 1/2 cup of frozen corn to the pan and a cup of red kidney beans and sautéed everything for 3 minutes more.

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Next I folded in a 1/4 of a cup of pecans. The recipe says to toast them, but the flavor gets lost in the casserole, so I would skip that step if I were you.

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Combine 1/4 a cup of olive oil and a teaspoon each of garlic powder, sage, and thyme in a small bowl. Brush the inside of the pumpkin with the olive oil mixture.

I filled the pumpkin with the rice mixture. Putting the lid back on. I baked it at 350 for 2 hours or until the sides of the pumpkin were tender enough to be pierced with a knife tip.

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The pumpkin barely fit in the oven!

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After the two hours, I removed the pumpkin’s lid and baked it for 10-20 minutes.

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Finished!

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We had ours with spicy roasted brussel sprouts and veggie loaf topped with warm apple butter.

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