Pumpkin and Chard Risotto

If you’ve been reading this blog, you get by now that I work an awful lot, producing food for gazillions of people every week. You might think this leaves me totally sick of cooking and eating chickpeas out of the can for dinner most nights. But in fact, I only eat beans out of the can some nights! Weekends are usually reserved for cooking with/for my delightful friends. First, because otherwise I’d never see them, and second, because they have functioning kitchens that I can usurp.

On Saturday we had a Pumpkin All The Things! day with a few folks (who have a great kitchen). Originally we had planned on doing savoury pumpkin ravioli, but couldn’t find vegan wonton wrappers on a Saturday (they only sell them at the Kosher market). So, we improvised and came up with this great risotto.

Believe me when I tell you, this tastes waaaayyy better than it looks.

Believe me when I tell you, this tastes waaaayyy better than it looks.

The tangy, crunchy chard contrasts so nicely with the creamy, rich pumpkin. Mushrooms were added for some texture, along with my favorite ever Smoked Apple Sage Field Roast sausages. The end result was so delicious we all sat numb from overeating watching NFB videos until we could roll out the door.

Pumpkin and Chard Risotto

For the basic risotto:

Olive oil and/or Earth Balance, for cooking
A bottle of buttery, oaky Chardonnay
Vegetable broth
2 cups arborio rice
2 yellow onions, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced

To stir in near the end of cooking the rice:

2 cups pureed unsweetened pumpkin
3 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram, or 2 tsp dried
1.5 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp dijon
Salt and Pepper

To stir in just before serving:

1 large bunch of chard, any colour, thoroughly washed and chopped- Stems into 1/2 inch slices, leaves into 1-inch cubes
4 Apple Sage Field Roast Sausages, broken with your fingers into small, rough bites
1 pint mushrooms, halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp tamari
Juice from half a lemon
A splash of wine
Olive oil, for cooking.

Start by preparing your basic risotto. Fry the onions in plenty of oil til they are golden, then add the rice and garlic, stirring constantly until just toasted. Stir in a cup of wine, pour yourself a glass while you’re at it. Once the wine is absorbed, add stock a ladleful at a time, allowing it to be fully absorbed between each addition.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and sausages to be stirred in at the very end of cooking. Sautee the mushrooms over medium high heat in the olive oil until almost all golden, then deglaze with a splash of wine. Once that wine is cooked down, add the chard stems to the mushrooms for a few minutes, and finally the chard leaves and the garlic along with the tamari and lemon. Set the vegetables aside, and in the same pan brown the sausages until mostly golden. Deglaze with a little more wine if things have been sticking. Set aside wit the vegetables.

When the rice is just barely soft enough to eat, but still slightly firm, stir in the pumpkin, marjoram, thyme, dijon, and nutritional yeast. Add another 1/2 cup of wine. Stir in the veggies and sausages that you have set aside, and adjust seasoning if required.

We ate this with delicious roasted red pepper and onion fougasse, but if were up for it we would have made a nice salad to go with.

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Perfect Vegan Pumpkin Pie

This really is the perfect pumpkin pie. It comes together quickly, it has perfect pumpkin pie flavour, the texture is firm and silky, and there’s no soy aftertaste. I couldn’t ask for a better pie. You might want a more spicy pie, so add a bit more of the spices- it tastes pretty much the same raw or cooked, so make sure it tastes good to you before filling your crust.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup firm silken tofu
1/2 cup Silk coffee creamer, other brands might work too.
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
2 cups canned pumpkin- I used an organic brand that was very dry and firm- it needed to be spooned out of the can, it wouldn’t come out on its own. You want your pumpkin to be this dry, so consider straining it in cheesecloth.
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger, nutmeg, salt
1/4 tsp cloves

You will need a 9″ pastry crust that has not been blind baked- stick it in the freezer for at least 30 mins before your bake time. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and place your rack in the middle. In a food processor blend first the tofu and creamer until smooth, then blend in the sugar and corn starch until smooth, then all the remaining ingredients. Fill frozen pastry crust and wrap the crust edges with strips of tinfoil to prevent burning. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees and bake for another hour, checking every so often to ensure the crusts aren’t burning and the filling is setting. Let cool on a rack, then transfer to the fridge over night to set completely. If you can wait that long. I decorated mine with pretty pastry stars, but you probably aren’t as nerdy as me, so a dollop of cashew cream will do fine for garnish. Or a cup of coffee, if you are like me and think pie=breakfast food.