Waste not, want not they always say! Don’t toss those valuable pumpkin innards, seeds or skins! We can use those to make a tasty pumpkin stock!
The beautiful thing about stock is you can literally put any damn thing you want in it! It will turn out slightly different every time but that’s ok! Variety is the spice of life. In this case, it’s the pumpkin-spice of life wink wink nudge nudge. Puns aside, pumpkin stock is awesome. You can use it to replace a chicken, vegetable or beef stock to give your recipes a festive fall kick! Imagine the possibilities! Pumpkin chicken noodle soup! Pumpkin risotto! Pumpkin goat cheese soup!
So here’s what you do.
As you are cooking throughout the week, make sure to save your vegetable scraps and place them in a large ziplock bag in your fridge. Vegetables that work really well in a stock include but are not limited to: carrots, celery, garlic, onions, green onion, fennel, leek, and mushrooms. Vegetables that you should pass on include: cabbage or lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, artichokes… Basically the ‘stinky’ veggies. Go ahead and leave those out.
When you have a respectable amount of veggies or veggie scraps- about half a gallon ziplock bags worth or more- you are ready to make your pumpkin stock!
Clean your pumpkin. Basically you want to completely separate all of it’s parts- skin, flesh, pulp and seeds.
Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pulpy insides. Place the clean halves on a cutting board for later and put on some gloves and get to work! This part is messy and time consuming. I like to take the seeds between my forefinger and thumb and kind of shoot it into a bowl of it’s own. It’s fun, plus it does a good job of getting most of the pulp off of the seeds. Once the seeds are all separated, set aside to make roasted pumpkin seeds later. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the pulpy goodness into yet another bowl.
Now skin your pumpkin. I find this works best with a paring knife, and some determination. Place your pumpkin half flesh down on your cutting board and use your paring knife to carefully peel off the skin. You can try to use a vegetable peeler, but the one I have laughed in my face when I tried to do this. The skin is just too rubbery and thick for a peeler to be very effective. The skins can be roasted or not, I personally think roasted skins add a robust flavor but fresh will work as well! To roast your pumpkin place your clean pumpkin halves in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or so until fork tender, let the pumpkin cool and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Place skins in a bowl.
Save the seeds for later- we are going to roast those bad boys to pumpkiny perfection! Place the pumpkin pulp and skins into a large pot. Follow with your fresh veggies, or your veggie scraps you so diligently saved, or a combination of the two. The more veggies you can spare, the more flavorful your stock will be.
Cover the veggies with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and reduce for 2 hours or so, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
Strain out your veggies and you will have a pumpkin stock fit for- well anything you can use a stock in!
I hope you enjoy your pumpkin stock! Share your favorite pumpkin stock recipes! I don’t think I could ever get enough pumpkin flavored things this fall!