For many Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie is a lot like sous without vide – incomprehensible.
If you’re planning on making pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup this year consider preparing it with sous vide. Traditionally pumpkin is roasted at a high temperature prior to being used in soups, pies or the like. As any chef will tell you, high temperatures and uneven heat can lead to both flavor and color loss. Visually a meal is a success when the colors of the raw vegetable are preserved after cooking.
Preparing pumpkin via sous vide is a great way to prime it for being used in pies, soups or even just eaten on its own.
- 1 large pumpkin
- 4 sage sprigs
- Kosher salt
- ½ butternut squash
- (optional) 1 tbsp. butter
- (optional) ¼ cup parmigiano Reggiano cheese
To prepare your pumpkin start by cutting off the stem and part of the top. From here use a vegetable peeler to skin the pumpkin from the top down. Removing the stem first allows for a slightly easier time removing the pumpkin’s tough rind.
Once peeled, slice into rings and remove the seeds. If you have a grapefruit spoon it will make this process much easier.
When you have your pumpkin slices prepared heat your water bath to 185F.
Season your pumpkin slices with salt and arrange in a single layer inside of a vacuum sealable bag. Add your 4 sage sprigs or another herb of your choice – like rosemary or thyme.
One of the biggest secrets behind pumpkin pie is the fact that it often includes butternut squash as well. Pumpkin often needs a little bit of help to round out its flavor. If you’re planning on pureeing your sous vide pumpkin for a soup or a pie make sure to also sous vide some butternut squash.
Fortunately, butternut squash can be cooked in the same water bath and using the same preparation technique as pumpkin. It will, however need to be cooked for slightly less time. Salt your butternut squash, seal, and submerge!
Let your pumpkin cook for 1-hour, but make sure to keep an eye on it during the last 20 minutes. We’re looking for a vibrant orange color. If it starts to fade you’re running the risk of overcooking the pumpkin. If cooking the squash as well, pay special attention to how it’s doing around the 45-minute mark. This is when it should be close to being done – remove from the water bath, drain and discard the liquid then set aside.
When your timer for the pumpkin goes remove it from the bath just like you did with the butternut squash. Remove the sage leaves and pulse the squash and pumpkin together.
As always, I encourage you get a little creative. I like to mix a 1/4 cup of parmigiano Reggiano cheese into my puree to give it a meatier taste. And if you’d like a bit of extra sweetness feel free to add honey, cinnamon, nutmeg or any other seasonal favorites.
Check out the rest of our “Can you Sous Vide Vegetables” series for even more as Thanksgiving approaches.