We’ve officially been Southerners for 5 1/2 years now (holy crap has it been that long?) and I am still slowly earning by Southern credentials. So far I’ve mastered the art of grits and buttermilk biscuits, although my fried chicken still needs work.
Thanks to a new book by local Nashville foodie Chris Chamberlain, I can continue to hone my down-home know-how with delicious results.
The Southern Foodie is Chris’ compilation of 134 recipes from 100 of the South’s best restaurants and eateries. Subtitled “100 Places to Eat in the South Before You Die (and the Recipes That Made Them Famous),” the book is a mouthwatering collection of southern fare: both traditional and groundbreaking. It serves as both a cookbook and a travel guide in one (and be sure to click through to the end of this post for your chance to win a copy!)
Although I’ve got nearly a dozen recipes in this booked marked as MAKE IMMEDIATELY, this roasted pumpkin recipe seemed like a logical starting point given the season and the fact that I had two beautiful heirloom pumpkins sitting on the hutch from our CSA.
(A side note: this recipe comes from the Capitol Grille, a Nashville gem located inside the Hermitage Hotel. Recognize the name? Maybe because my last decadent recipe was also inspired by a CG dish. Perhaps I need to get my butt down there sooner rather than later, eh?)
For those outside of the Southeast, sweet sorghum syrup is syrup made from sorghum cane, a grass in the same family as sugar cane. It is sweet with a complex, molasses-like flavor. If you can’t find sorghum where you are, a mild molasses would be a good substitute in this recipe.
I could see this recipe elevating the side dishes on your Thanksgiving table to epic new levels. We topped this vegetarian side with a leg of duck we had leftover in the freezer (I try to ignore the fact that the cat got to eat the other leg during one of his many homemade food trials). Simply browned in a skillet and baked at 325 for about 90 minutes, the leg was tender and savory and was a perfect compliment to the sweet and sticky pumpkin.
Roasted Pumpkin with Mulled Sorghum Glaze
1 (5 pound) North Georgia Candy pumpkin or any good roasting pumpkin
10 medium pearl onions, peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
salt and white pepper
1/2 cup sorghum syrup*
1/4 cup mulled cider
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
salt and white pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin. Cut the flesh from half of the pumpkin into 1/2-inch cubes; you should have about 2 cups. In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with the pearl onions, butter, salt, and pepper. Place in a roasting pan and roast in the oven until caramelized and tender yet firm, no more than 25 to 30 minutes. It is important to keep an eye on the pumpkin as it roasts, as it will go from firm to too soft quickly. You want the pumpkin to begin to caramelize but not to overcook.
To make the sorghum glaze, combine the sorghum syrup and cider in a small saucepan over medium heat and reduce by half. Fold in the butter.
Toss the pumpkin with half of the sorghum glaze and chopped sage. Return to the oven and reheat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with additional sorghum glaze as desired.