Winter Pumpkin Stew

Free of: egg, soy, nut, sugar, oil
Serves 6

Pumpkins fall into two categories: the ones we use for carving jack-o’-lanterns and ones we use for cooking. The decorative carving types are fibrous and bland in contrast to the flavorful varieties used for cooking. For variation, in place of the pumpkin, butternut squash is also suitable in this recipe.

8 cups pumpkin (Sugar Pie or Baby Bear) cubed into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 1/2 pounds)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 pound fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 1 large bulb)
1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 leeks white and pale green parts, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Lemon wedges for garnish

To prepare the pumpkin:
Using a large knife cut the top stem end of the pumpkin off, creating a flat surface. Place the flat side down on the cutting board to stabilize the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, then into quarters. Peal, seed, and cube the pumpkin. Set aside.

To prepare the dish:
Heat a heavy 5 to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, mushrooms, and leeks sauté until tender, but not brown, adding 2 tablespoons of broth as needed, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, remaining broth, turmeric, bay leaf, salt, and pepper; increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the pumpkin is just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and stir until incorporated. Cover and simmer until the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a lemon wedge and serve immediately.