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Alright. This post will seem a tad odd but, but, please bear with me.

It’s six days to Thanksgiving and I have not been posting. Sorry, life intervened. I have, I assure you, been thinking. About Thanksgiving and the days that follow.

Suzi and I make too much food for Thanksgiving. We promise to reform. We won’t. We can’t. So, on next Friday, we’ll have leftovers. What to do? Well, let’s turn to Afghanistan. Don’t ask. I’ll explain.

The book cover is for a 2014 gem: The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook. More ideas will come from this delightful little book between tonight and Thursday. But right here I want to present a very interesting idea for leftovers. Author Stephanie Pedersen gives this recipe for an Afghani-Style Sweet Stew. It’s vegetarian. No turkey, but a wonderful mix of butternut squash, tomatoes, currants and spices.

After Thanksgiving, you might want a vegetarian day. Or, you can do what Suzi and I will: make this stew but add in smallish chunks of turkey meat, light and dark, and then serve over rice or noodles.

Suzi is rice. I am noodles. I have six days to plead my case. I’ll win.

I hope.

Fall is a funny sort of season. It’s the vegetable season. I know, in summer we have corn and tomatoes and cucumbers. But the real, down-to-earth gritty vegetable season is the fall. Root vegetables and squash and other things you ignore during the summer, well, now they abound. This stew will delight you. And you can make it on its own, as is, or modify it to meet your palate’s cravings.

I crave noodles.

Oh, I made one change here. I said to use Pumpkin Pie Spice, like the one you can find in the supermarket now. The author calls for a Scandinavian Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend:

  • 4 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 ½ tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried lemon zest

I suppose that what makes this blend different is the cardamom and fennel. Suzi and I will test, compare to the American canned stuff, and let you know.

Afghani-Style Sweet Stew

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 8 cups diced butternut squash, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned, drained first)
  • ⅓ cup dried black currants
  • Optional: ⅓ cup toasted almonds sliced or coarsely chopped



Add olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onions for about 5 minutes, until softened.

Add ginger and garlic and sauté about 4 minutes.

Stir in coriander, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, salt, pepper and brown sugar, until well blended.

Add the squash, tomatoes and currents and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until the squash is quite soft.

Adjust salt and pepper-and other seasonings, if desired. Garnish with optional almonds, if desired.

Serve over a bed of millet, couscous, brown rice, quinoa, or another grain. Or noodles, for God’s sake.


Source: The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook by Stephanie Pedersen