The Thanksgiving themed foods are upon us. And while the “Turkey and Gravy” flavored potato chips are safe from me, there are a few of these brief appearances that are worth catching.
One that I found appealing was the Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin Corn Chips. They are a good, sturdy whole grain corn chip, laced with a little pumpkin and dusted with a spice medley that includes both heat and some pie-themed spices. A little bit sweet, a little bit pumpkin-y, and full of corn crunch, the chips beckoned me to come up with a dip to match up with all the Thanksgiving flavors that each chip contained.
What I came up with would make a great appetizer at the big T-Day feast, or a simple Meatless Monday dinner, with a salad on the side. I love playing with the flavors of the traditional meal to make something unexpected.
So, I started with some meaty mushrooms, nutty toasted pumpkinseeds, and a generous handful of fresh sage leaves. Sauteing mushrooms and garlic for a classic mushroom pate, I knew that the toasted pumpkinseeds would add umami, and the richness we all crave when the weather gets cold. I kept it simple, wanting the flavor of sage to really stand out. The chips have a bit of intensity to their coating of spice, so no need to go overboard in the dip.
Once the dip was pureed to a coarse paste, I molded it in a bowl, and then frizzled some sage leaves to add as a delicious garnish. Sage is one of the twiggy herbs, and it stands up well to hot oil, becoming crispy and concentrated, rather than losing flavor as basil would.
All in all, it is a quick recipe that makes the most of a whole grain food that you can buy already prepared. Of course, if you don’t have the pumpkin chips, other chips, breads or crackers will do.
So get in on the Fall pumpkin-spice craze, without falling prey to an artificially flavored coffee concoction. Pumpkin and spices are beautiful, natural foods that taste great, so we might as well enjoy the real things, right?
Sage-Pumpkinseed Pate with Pumpkin Corn Chips
Makes about 1 1/4 cup dip
1 cup hulled pumpkinseeds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage plus a handful of whole leaves
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
about 1 teaspoon coarsely crushed black peppercorns ( I use a pot to crush them)
Pumpkin Corn Chips
In a large saute pan, heat the pumpkinseeds over medium high heat. Dry-toast, swirling in the pan, until the seeds start to pop and turn golden brown in spots. Dump the seeds into the bowl of the food processor.
Return the pan to the heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the chopped sage and stir over medium heat until the sage sizzles and turns a shade darker. Transfer to the processor with the seeds, leaving the sage-flavored oil in the pan.
In the same pan, add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat. Stir frequently as they shrink and darken. Add the garlic when the mushrooms are soft and the pan is almost dry. Stir until the garlic is fragrant and barely golden-don’t let it burn. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the processor bowl.
Add the salt and half of the pepper, and process until coarsely pureed. Scrape down and process to desired consistency, I like some chunkiness.
Lightly oil a cereal bowl and press the pate in the bowl, then unmold on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a saute pan and add the remaining whole sage leaves. Fry over medium-high heat until crispy and golden around the edges. Pour the sage and oil from the pan over the pate. Sprinkle with cracked pepper and serve with pumpkin chips.