Pumpkin Lecho with Chicken

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Every year when I go to the veggie market around this time, I feel like all the pumpkins are STARING at me and SCREAMING to BUY them.  Something like that 😉 :

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I am not a big fan of pumpkin, but when they all look at me like that, I feel bad and end up buying at least one every year. When I bring it home, I usually use it as a decoration. It looks so cute to me. I like the small pumpkins especially. They’re like little babies looking at me and I just can’t say NO to them. Last year, my daughter was using a pumpkin as her new toy. She was dragging it around a house and it was THE BEST TOY EVER. It kept her busy for hours. Until one day, she dropped it….I mean ……. she dropped it pretty hard….I think you can imagine the mess. Well, as much as I hated cleaning it, I was kind of relieved that I don’t have to make anything out of it. I did make a pumpkin pie, for my husband’s coworkers, for a Thanksgiving Day at work last year. He said that everyone liked it. But, I will be honest. I used a store bought pumpkin puree. ( sorry…)

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 This year I bought a  pumpkin AGAIN. But this time, I decided I will not waste it and make something with it. I hate wasting food. Especially, knowing that there are so many poor kids around the world who go to sleep hungry every day 😦

 I decided to make lecho with my cute little pumpkin. Lecho is a Hungarian dish, which is very popular in Poland. It is a vegetable stew. Traditionally, it is made with onions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and sausage. There are many varieties of lecho and anyone can adjust it to his or her individual taste. You can add any vegetables you like. I made lecho before, but never with pumpkin. The pumpkin in this recipe is definitely not a STAR ingredient. It’s more a SECRET ingredient. It kind of gets dissolved into a gravy and you don’t even know that it’s there. It does give a gravy a nice texture though and it works as a thickening ingredient.  I like it that way because like I said before, I’m not a big pumpkin fan. If you’re like me and have some pumpkins lying around collecting dust, please try this recipe. I cooked lecho with pumpkin for the first time,  and I have to say it turned out pretty tasty. I might be bias though 😉 so try it yourself.

To make it I used:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small green chili peppers (finely chopped, you can omit this if you don’t like spicy food)
  • ½ of a small pumpkin
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cooked chicken legs
  • 2 tsp. of salt or to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

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1. I cut all the vegetables into a bite size pieces. I like bigger chunks because when you cook they will become mushy if they’re too small. I only use half of the pumpkin. So I cut it in half and then scoop out all the seeds and the ‘hairy’ flush. Please DO NOT THROW THE SEEDS. Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious and  make a great snack. I will show you how to roast them in the next post.

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  2. Heat up the olive oil in the pan and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Heads up…use a LARGE POT. It is a lot of vegetables. I started with a small pan and had to transfer to a larger one. I guess I should have realized that  I will need something larger for so many different veggies but I’m a little absent-minded those days 😉

3. Add chopped garlic and chilies (if using). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry for a minute

4. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes, tomato paste and 1/2 cup of a chicken stock. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. ( You can also use water instead of chicken stock). I cooked the pumpkin for 4-5 minutes before I added the other vegetables. Honestly, I thought that pumpkin will require longer cooking time than the other veggies but it really didn’t. Because I cooked it longer, it actually became mushy and dissolved into the gravy. I didn’t mind it, and actually liked it, since I don’t really care about pumpkin taste that much. However, if you want big chunks of pumpkin, add all the remaining vegetables at this time. (plus salt and pepper to taste)

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 5. Add marjoram, bay leaf and paprika. Stir in the remaining chicken stock. Cover and cook on the medium low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender but not falling apart. Keep stirring from time to time to prevent burning.

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6. After the 15-20 minutes add the chicken and mix everything together. Turn the heat of. At this point you can check if you need any more salt according to your taste. You can also add more water if you want more gravy.

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6. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve HOT with some bread for dipping !!!

This is a simple ONE POT recipe. As I said in my ABOUT page, I don’t think I’m a great cook. I DO LOVE to cook though. (and EAT !!! ). I cook food that everyone can make at home. You don’t need to be a master chef to know how to cook. My husband is pretty happy with my cooking so I guess I’m not that bad. I think cooking is all about trying and experimenting. Few years ago I was burning French fries and now I like to take risks and try different recipes 🙂

ENJOY !!!!

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Thanks for reading!!!!! I appreciate any comments or feedback so feel free to leave one 🙂

Oh….I still have half the pumpkin left……I have some yummy recipes in mind so keep checking the web….I am also open to your suggestions on what you like to do with your pumpkins?

Next, I’m going to post my roasted pumpkin seed recipe. Please stay tuned for that 🙂

 

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