2 bell peppers (red and yellow)
Pack of turkey – tougher cuts survive slow cooking better, such as thigh, but I only found 320g breast in the freezer (and I was looking for lamb!), a 500g / 1lb pack would also do.
Curry roux block, or turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, coriander, etc spices
2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes
A big scoop or two of peanut butter
Slow cooker / crockpot
*The only thing creepy about this curry is how unplanned it was.
Step One – how to defeat a pumpkin
I was putting this off because pumpkins are evil, armoured beasts best tackled by a lumberjack – but by delving into the dusty tomes of the internet, I discovered their ancient weakness:
The modern microwave.
First off, you’re best off using a small pumpkin for better flavour or specifically a pie pumpkin or sugar pumpkin. You also want it to fit inside the microwave. Cut out the stalk, dig out the entrails with a soup spoon and pour a little water inside. Stick the cap back on, pierce the skin all over to prevent explosions and microwave it in 2 minute increments, testing for softness by viciously stabbing it with a knife each time. It was actually hard to tell the difference by cutting through the skin, so take the cap off and test the flesh inside. I did mine for 8 minutes, and could easily quarter it up with a heavy serrated knife afterwards. The flesh sliced off the rind pretty much like a melon. I think 6 or 7 minutes would suffice as pumpkin mushes easily and I’ll be throwing mine in the slow cooker much later to compensate. Your Microwave May Vary.
If your pumpkin doesn’t fit, slice it in half and put a little water in each ‘bowl’. You don’t need the whole thing, so the amount you don’t use can go in a freezer bag or the fridge.
Step Two – peel and chunky chop all the other veg
Step Three – brown the meat very lightly in a frying pan to seal in its soul. I mean the succulence. If you have a slow cooker with a nonstick metal pot, you can brown it in that pan and then place it back in the cooker and toss the veg on top. Depending on how soft your pumpkin ended up, decide whether to chuck it in now or later. If there’s not much space, add it later when the rest has stewed down.
Step Four – add flavourings
I’m using a curry roux block, alternatively you can use a load of spices. With slow cookers, sometimes the flavour soaks in and sometimes it dilutes. So we can cover both bases by adding a small portion to start and the rest near the end. For the moment, throw in the stock cubes and a quarter of your curry spices. Boil the kettle and fill up the slow cooker with enough hot water to just cover all the vegetables.
Cooking time: you can cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6 – 7. Slow cookers are very forgiving, mine was on for 9 hours in all because I went out in the evening!
Halfway through your cooking time, add the pumpkin and two big tablespoons of peanut butter, and more spices if you feel like it, but save the bulk of them to stir in at the end. Put as much pumpkin as will fit under the waterline. Keep the rest for soup or pie.
I got 6 generous portions out of this, eating it without rice. It lasts 3 days in the fridge or you can freeze portions straight away for those sad, pumpkin-less months.
It tasted nice but it needed something to make the flavour pop a bit more, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The peanut butter gave it a satay taste and a little crunch, the turkey retains its texture and flavour well when stewing, and the mixture of sweet vegetables went well with the curry spices.
If you’d like to cook the same recipe without a slow cooker, take a big soup pan, brown the meat first, then fry the onions, peppers and tomatoes, then put the dense vegetables in with the stock and half the spices. Simmer for an hour with a lid mostly on or until the veg are cooked to your preference, add the rest of the spice/curry roux and peanut butter and stir it all together. Give it another ten minutes to blend in and then serve.
Pumpkin King ♪ ♬ ヾ(´︶`♡)ﾉ ♬ ♪