I love, love, love pumpkin! I wait all year for pumpkin season to begin so that I can begin trying out new pumpkin dishes. A few years ago, I invited my friend Yulian and her husband to join us in our great pumpkin fest. We went picking pumpkins, tromping through a corn maze, and then cooked up a storm.
As I've mentioned on previous posts, Yulian is from China and has an entirely different method of cooking. Where I use measuring cups and spoons, she just tosses food together until it tastes just right. It's amazing! She normally likes to try American cooking, so I made all of my best pumpkin recipes for our pumpkin fest - pumpkin soup, pumpkin sheet cake, etc. But, in my opinion, her contribution was the best part of our entire meal...pumpkin fried rice!
This recipe is such a deliciously unique way to celebrate pumpkin season! It's now become one of my favorite fall dishes. I'm so excited to be able to share it with you.
First, chop up some bacon (about 5-6 strips) and cook it in a skillet until nice and crisp.
Yulian made her pumpkin fried rice with onion and mushroom, but she says that the key to Chinese cooking is to be flexible and do whatever you want. So I did!
I picked these two cute peppers off of my pepper plant...the only things that it produced all season.
To give you more perspective on the size of my peppers, I'll stick my small tub of margarine behind them. It's okay...you're allowed to laugh.
I chopped up my peppers and pulled out some other veggies I had sitting in my refrigerator - baby carrots, mushrooms, and sweet corn. What a perfect fall mixture!
Add your veggies to the skillet and saute for 5-10 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender. Then, toss in about 2 cups of cold, cooked rice. It must be cold, and it must be cooked. It must. Trust me.
Stir the rice around for a few minutes until it breaks up and is heated through. Once the rice is sufficiently fried, you add your pumpkin (sorry...I don't have a picture of this stage...I forgot!).
Mix together 1 cup of pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup water, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the pumpkin into the rice and cook and stir until it is slightly absorbed and is heated through.
And that's it! It's a wonderful, one-skillet meal that provides a unique taste of fall. For some extra pizazz, melt some shredded mozzarella over the top. That will put the taste over the roof!
Since I shared with you my directions above, I thought I would share with you Yulian's directions here. You can pick either or go off on your own...that's the beauty of Chinese cooking!
Pumpkin Fried Rice
(Yulian's version...she uses grams)
1-2 t. olive oil
250g fresh pumpkin
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
bacon (as much as you want!)
5 dried mushrooms (soak in advance for one hour until soft)
50g mozzarella cheese
cold, cooked rice (about 2 cups)
Saute the onion in a small amount of olive oil until slightly tender. Peel and chop the pumpkin and add it to the skillet. Saute it until it smells good, then add some water, salt, and pepper. Cover and continue cooking until the pumpkin is tender and makes a sort of sauce. Add the butter and mix in.
Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry in a separate skillet until crispy. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender. Add the rice and cook until it's separated. Add pumpkin sauce and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Top with mozzarella cheese.
*I didn't calculate the nutritional information for this because it is so flexible. To make the dish lighter, use less bacon (or turkey bacon) and more veggies.
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