Autumn is here and it is seriously getting colder with each passing day! When it comes to food in autumn, it seems like everyyybody, and I mean EVERYBODY gets gaga for pumpkins. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pies, pumpkin every freaking thing! I have to admit though, never had a pumpkin spiced latte, is it really as good as it is hyped up to be? I'm afraid of getting wildly disappointed lol. One thing I realized over the years was that pumpkins are very popularly eaten as a dessert—when I first started working, our office has an annual Thanksgiving potluck. Of course, me being extra when it comes to food, I decided to put a spin on cooking pumpkin by making things like Thai pumpkin laksa curry with noodles, or this past year, braised pumpkin with chicken and shiitake mushrooms. While my coworkers enjoyed my pumpkin dishes, many had never had pumpkin cooked in a savory way before, which was a surprise to me because I grew up eating pumpkin in savory dishes way more than sweets! I've had pumpkin with rice, in soups, braised with assorted meats and vegetables, and it is just so comforting and warming.
Today, I'm sharing my recipe for a braised Japanese kabocha pumpkin, chicken and shiitake mushroom stew. It's SOO good ladled over a bowl of rice and Wilson loves this dish whenever I make it! Japanese kabocha pumpkin is more dense and sweet than the pumpkins in the US and are available at most Asian supermarkets. If you don't have access to kabocha, you can substitute the recipe with a regular pumpkin, but it's definitely yummier with the Japanese kabocha.
Typically I like to cook this dish was dark meat like chicken thighs, drumettes or wings, depending on my mood. The dark meat is much more succulent in this braised dish and there is something about the way that the sauce holds onto the meat that is just so satisfying, especially when you eat the wings and suck on the bones, haha! (gotta love our wings). For this recipe, I used the chicken drumsticks and wings leftover from carving a whole chicken, using the breast meat for another dish and using the dark meat for this stew.
Sometimes if I want to make this dish with chicken breast, I do a light marinade of salt, white pepper, sesame oil and cornstarch with it and do a quick stir fry to seal in the juices and to keep the meat tender. Then, you cook the pumpkin separately and add in the chicken towards the end to prevent the chicken from overcooking.
Chicken + marinade:
We hope you like this homey and comforting dish during the chilly autumn and winter seasons!
Until next time,
Just a gal who loves to eat and cook ❤