Back in November I went for a mini foodie tour of Philly. I indulged in much gelato from Capogiro, ice cream at The Franklin Fountain, and lots of cheese and other goodies from Reading Terminal Market. (Can you tell I like dairy?) But for me, the standout dish was the seasonal pickle special at Village Whiskey - pickled pumpkin and charred kale served with toasted sourdough and ricotta.
It was so simple, but so magical! The sweet pumpkin paired with slightly bitter charred kale, the vinegar cutting through the richness of the ricotta, and the satisfying crunch of the toast. SO GOOD! I haven't stopped thinking about it!
Inspired by that dish I came up with these tacos to satisfy my craving. No need to pickle anything - the tang comes from a sweet balsamic drizzle. If you can't find a fresh pumpkin, use a more readily available squash - like butternut - or even a sweet potato.
Pumpkin, charred kale & onion tacos
with ricotta and balsamic drizzle
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
3 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1/2 tsp, divided
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 small bunch kale, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 cup roasted pepitas
salt & pepper
fresh whole milk ricotta
1. To make the balsamic drizzle, pour the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and let simmer until it has reduced by about 1/2 and has a slightly syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 425F. On a lightly oiled baking sheet toss the cubed pumpkin with 1 Tbsp olive oil, smoked paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread pumpkin evenly over the baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin is soft and brown in spots, about 20-30 minutes. Transfer pumpkin to a large bowl and set aside.
3. Set your oven to broil and set an oven rack about 3 inches below your broiler. Toss the kale leaves onto the same baking sheet you used for the pumpkin. Massage 1 Tbsp of oil into the kale leaves and season lightly with salt. Spread evening over the pan and then top the kale with slices of onion. Place kale and onion into the oven and broil for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is starting to brown and the kale is blackened in spots. Remove from oven and transfer to the bowl with the pumpkin. Gently mix the pumpkin, kale and onions together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. To assemble, spread a dollop of fresh ricotta onto a corn tortilla, top with the pumpkin and kale mixture, a drizzle of the balsamic glaze and sprinkling of roasted pepitas.