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Chef Kevin Belton’s pumpkin recipes for the holidays

Chef Kevin cooks up some pumpkin-inspired dishes.

NEW ORLEANS — Pumpkin is finding its way to spice up traditional holiday recipes.

Chef Kevin Belton shares his recipe for Pumpkin Chicken Chowder and Pumpkin Peach Muffin. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chicken Chowder

1 whole chicken

12 cups water

1 medium pie pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 onion, diced

1 cup quinoa

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

2 Tbsp. Creole seasoning

2 tsp. dried thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups spinach

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 cup pumpkin puree

Green onions for garnish

Place the chicken in a large Dutch oven or soup pot, cover with water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Remove chicken from the water, and let cool to touch. Once cool, remove meat from the bones and shred.

Meanwhile, add the pumpkin, onion, quinoa, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, Creole seasoning, and thyme, to the stockpot and bring back to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 20 -25 minutes.

Add the chicken, spinach, half and half, and pumpkin puree to the soup, simmering until everything is heated through, about 5 -7 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste, garnish with green onions and serve.

Pumpkin Peach muffins

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/8 cup vegetable oil

2 cups peaches, peeled and chopped

1/8 to 1/4 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Generously grease a standard muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, mix together the eggs, pumpkin and vegetable oil.

Slowly fold the flour mixture into the bowl with the egg mixture. Add in the chopped peaches and combine gently. Add up to 1/4 cup of milk.

Evenly distribute the batter to your muffin tins. Fill each well about 2/3 full. Bake in your preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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