Cooking with Pumpkins: Chef Diego's recipes

October 21, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Chef Diego of Jack Binion's Steak House at Horseshoe Casino, came into our ABC7 studio kitchen to show us a few recipes.

Grilled Pumpkin Gold Coast Salad
Ingredients: 1 Small to medium size pumpkin
4 oz Mesclun greens
3 oz Honey Bourbon Vinagrette(see recipe below)
2 oz Dried Cranberries
4 oz Whole Pecans
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 oz Goat cheese
2 stalk Peanut oil
2 Bay leaves
1 oz Kosher salt
1 oz Fresh Pepper
1 tsp Cinnamon


1. Combine sugar and water in small sauté pan. Bring water to simmer to dissolve sugar and create a simple syrup.
2. In an another sauté pan add peanut oil and toast pecans over medium heat, just until toasty aroma arises. Do not burn.
3. Coat pecans in simple syrup. Toss with Cajun seasoning.
4. Grease sheet pan with peanut oil, place coated pecans on pan.
5. Bake in 350F oven for 10-12 minutes, until crispy. Let cool.
6. Cut top off pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and insides.
7. Cut pumpkin in quarters. Using peeler, peel skin on pumpkin.
8. Using chef knife, trim ends of pumpkin to form into flat triangles.
9. Boil pot of water with salt and bay leaves. Add pumpkin.
10. Boil for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Place in ice bath to stop cooking process. Drain and cool.
11. Heat up grill, Rub pumpkin with peanut, pepper and cinnamon.
12. Grill on both sides just to mark.
13. Toss mesclun greens with vinaigrette.
14. Top with cheese, cranberries, and pecans
15. Cut grilled pumpkin into desired pieces. Place over salad.

TIPS: Can substitute pecans with any other nut, or leave out due to allergies.

Honey Bourbon Vinaigrette
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Fresh sage,
5 each Roasted Garlic cloves
½ cup Honey
3 cup EVOO
To taste Sea Salt
To Taste Fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup Bourbon whisky
½ cup nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil.
2. Using food processor, immersion blender, or blender, slowly add olive oil until emulsified.
3. Taste and reseason as needed.

TIPS: Ratio is always 3 times oil to vinegar for any vinaigrette.
TIPS: Vinaigrette may be held for up to a week, due to preservation action of the vinegar.

Pumpkin Bisque
8 oz Unsweetened canned pumpkin
2 oz butter, whole
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 oz yellow onion, diced small
3 oz brandy
3 oz sherry
2 oz tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
16 oz Chicken broth
Half cup Arborio rice
4 oz heavy cream
To Taste kosher salt
1 Tsp white pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Large leaves Fresh basil, chopped
1 small Carrot, chopped
4 oz Pumpkin seeds, hulled
2 oz Peanut oil
1 tsp nutmeg


1. In sauce pan, melt butter oven med-high heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots. Sweat until onions are translucent.
2. Add tomato paste and paprika. Brown slightly.
3. Add pumpkin. Brown slightly
4. Add sherry and brandy. Carefully light with long candle lighter. WARNING: SHERRY and BRANDY IS ALCOHOL AND WILL FLAME. LET FLAMES DIE DOWN AS ALCOHOL BURNS OFF.
5. As flames burn off, add herbs, chicken broth. Combine well. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
6. Carefully strain thru fine sieve. Return to pot.
7. Add Arborio rice, and cook for 30-45 min, until rice cooked thru, and overdone.
8. Using immersion blender or food processor, carefully puree until rice in completely emulsified.
9. Strain soup again thru sieve, using a ladle or spoon like a plunger.
10. Return to pot. Incorporate cream. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
11. Coat pumpkin seeds with peanut oil. Toast in 350 oven for 8-10 min. Until just crispy.
12. Serve soup, and top with seeds.

TIPS: If allergies, peanut oil or pumpkin seed may be omitted.
TIPS: Fresh pumpkin maybe also be used if available. Must be cleaned and peeled. Add to soup after first straining and simmer until very tender. Then puree.

Pumpkin Crème Brulee
1 Cup Heavy whipping cream
½ each Vanilla bean
2 Each Egg yolks
¼ Cup Light brown sugar
½ Cup Canned unsweetened pumpkin
1 Oz Sugar in raw(turbinado)

1. Bring pot of water to boil. For water bath.
2. Preheat oven t0 350F.
3. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla until light in color.
4. Heat cream in sauce pan until starts to steam. Slowly add some cream to temper eggs. Once tempered, add the rest of the cream slowly until combined well.
5. Pour mixture into 4 oz shallow ramekins. Place in casserole dish.
6. Pour boiled water into dish, up to ½ in below top of ramekins.
7. Bake in oven for 30-35 min.
8. Carefully remove from water bath and allow to sit to room temperature.
9. Cover with plastic and let chill for 3 hours or overnite.
10. Sprinkle raw sugar over crème brulee evenly.
11. Using kitchen torch, caramelize sugar evenly until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool. Sugar will take on glass like consistency.
12. Serve.

Can use granulated sugar if sugar in raw cannot be found.

Pumpkin and Chorizo Pastellios
8 oz Unsweetened canned pumpkin
8 oz Mexican chorizo sausage
1 cup Chihuahua cheese,shredded
2 oz yellow onion, diced small
2 oz Gold Tequila
4 oz Potato, diced small
half bunch Recao (culantro)
1.5 cups Flour
half cup Warm water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
2 cups Corn oil

1. Brown chorizo over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes breaking up to crumble. With slotted spoon remove meat, reserving grease. Let grease cool.
2. For the dough, combine all the dry ingredients in electric mixer, add all the wet ingredients. Mix for about 3 minutes until well combined. Dough will form.
3. Take it out, add cool chorizo grease and knead for about 3 minutes, let Sit for 15 min covered.
4. Add 1 oz corn oil to sauce pan and over medium high heat brown onions and potatoes, until onions are translucent. 5. Add tequila. Light with long candle lighter. WARNING, TEQUILA IS ALCOHOL AND WILL FLAME. LET FLAMES DIE DOWN AS ALCOHOL BURNS OFF
6. Add pumpkin and chorizo. Stir well and simmer for 10 min. Do not let stick. Let mixture cool.
7. Roll out dough into 6 in circles, about a 1/8 in thick.
8. Place 1-2 tbsp of mixture in center. Top with a nice pinch of chopped recao and 1oz Chihuahua cheese.
9. Fold over dough and crimp edges with a fork.
10. Heat remaining corn oil in large sauté pan over high heat. Splash a little water off your fingers to test oil, if bubbles, ready.
11. Carefully place pastellios into corn oil. Using tongs pan fry on each side until dough is crispy. 2-3 minutes on each side.
12. Remove from oil and place on plate lined with paper towels to cool slightly.
13. Serve on platters
TIPS: If Recao (culantro) cannot be found, cilantro can be substituted.

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