This hearty stew combines sweet roasted pumpkin with rich venison meat and warming spices like cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Serve this satisfying coldweather dish with a hunk of sourdough bread, braised greens and a glass of fruity red wine such as Vermont’s Huntington River Vineyard Frontenac.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for pumpkin seeds
- 2 pounds venison stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 cups stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
- 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more for pumpkin seeds
- 1 teaspoon each freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg and allspice
- ½ teaspoon each cloves and cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium pumpkin, about 3 pounds
- Plain whole-milk yogurt, for serving
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the venison and cook, stirring the meat gently to brown it evenly. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Add the stock, potatoes, carrots, garlic, onion, salt and spices; cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 2 hours, or until the venison is tender. Discard the bay leaves.
- Meanwhile, roast the pumpkin and the pumpkin seeds: Preheat oven to 375°. Wash the pumpkin and remove the stem. Slice the pumpkin in half from top to bottom; scoop out the seeds. Rinse the seeds, toss them with a little bit of vegetable oil and salt and roast on a cookie sheet until they get crispy and toasted, about 30 minutes.
- Slice each pumpkin half into four wedges and place in a shallow baking dish with plenty of water. Bake for 1 hour, or until soft. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, place in a bowl of cold water and rinse quickly. Peel the skin off of each wedge and add the peeled wedges to the stew.
To serve, top each bowl of stew with a spoonful of yogurt and a scattering of pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin contains antioxidant-rich manganese, vitamin C and alpha-linoleic acid, which reduces inflammation, supports healthy bones and improves digestion.