Get ready for the holidays, because they’re basically here! If you want a to “healthify” your holiday a bit, this is a superb way to add some virtue to the spread of candied yams, sugared cranberry sauce, and stuffing. While those each have a well deserved place on the Thanksgiving table, there should be room for a bit of greenery as well.
Don’t get me wrong; this doesn’t taste “diety” and will certainly hold its own next to the candied yams, stuffing, and the like. Another bonus, you won’t need more than 20 minutes from start to finish.
Rather than making a traditional roux with butter, flour, and cream, I brown the pumpkin with the shallot and garlic, then I gradually add in the broth until emulsified. The toasted pumpkin purée, combined with a touch of cashew cream or milk creates a much healthier and nutrient dense alternative to the white béchamel used in most creamed dishes.
Pumpkin Creamed Kale
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
1 1/2 tablespoons grass fed butter or olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée (ideally from scratch, but canned is fine)
2/3 cup broth (chicken, bone, or vegetable)
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon white pepper and/or a dash of cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 bunch kale (any kind), stems removed and thinly sliced
Salt, to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
What to do:
Warm a large high sided pan over medium heat. Add butter or olive oil, shallot, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Continue to cook, stirring, until shallot is pale and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add pumpkin purée and cook, stirring, until thickened and beginning to darken. Slowly whisk in broth, stirring constantly, until emulsified with the pumpkin.
Add bay leaf, nutmeg, pepper, and kale. Mix thoroughly and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until kale is soft, about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat, stir in cashew cream or milk of choice and adjust for salt. Serve immediately.
(Optional: top with toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish and a little bit of crunch)