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5 Savory Pumpkin Dishes You'll Want To Track Down In Chicago This Fall

By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 7, 2016 3:46PM

Grilled quail with pumpkin at Brindille. Photo by Ryan Beshel.

By Amber Gibson

A couple of weeks ago, we brought you some of our favorite sweet pumpkin dishes available this fall in Chicago. Now it's time to move onto the savory. Pumpkin desserts are only the tip of the iceberg, and these five places are doing savory squash dishes right.

Lake Trout and Wild Rice Roasted Mini Pumpkin at Chez Moi

Executive Chef Dominique Tougne loves all types of squash and has been serving pumpkin soup since he was at Bistro 110 two decades ago. “Pumpkin is the food symbol of the season,” he proclaims. “It’s a fun food that comes in so many different shapes and sizes.” For the third year, he’s celebrating the ingredient with a month-long pumpkin festival at Chez Moi, serving numerous pumpkin dishes for brunch (pumpkin pancakes and omelettes) and dinner including this cute pint-sized pumpkin accompaniment to pan-seared lake trout.
$24, 2100 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park

Short Ribs with Pumpkin Purée at Bistronomic

Hearty braised short ribs are paired with crunchy roasted Brussels sprouts and silky soft pumpkin purée at this local favorite French bistro. “The pumpkin purée is created by sweating shallots with peeled and diced pumpkin, salt, pepper and a bouquet garni,” explains Executive Chef and Owner Martial Noguier. He then blends the pumpkin in a Vitamix and adds a touch of crème fraîche to smooth the texture and the dish is finished with a bright red wine reduction for a pop of acidity.
$27.95, 840 N. Wabash Ave., Gold Coast

Pumpkin Potstickers at Green Zebra

Pie pumpkins from Three Sisters Garden get an Asian twist when they’re milled, then dried and mixed with ginger, garlic, scallions and toasted sesame oil to make dumpling filling. “Our potstickers are based on traditional Korean potstickers,” says Chef de Cuisine David Chapman, who serves them with a classic sesame, soy and vinegar dipping sauce. “The sesame oil definitely brings out the nutty flavor of roasted pumpkin.”
$9, 1460 W. Chicago Ave., West Town

Spaghetti squash at GreenRiver. Photo by Kailley Lindman.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Noodles at GreenRiver

Ok, this isn't pumpkin, exactly, but it's part of the squash family we love it anyway. Executive Chef Aaron Lirette substitutes spaghetti squash for zucchini in a fall twist on “zoodles.” The slivers of spaghetti squash are a subtly sweet backdrop for the main event—a hunk of gooey raclette cheese with expert criss-cross char marks. “While it’s not pasta per se, we plate it as such,” Executive Chef Aaron Lirette says. “The colors of all the ingredients together really pop.” Grilled honeycrisp apples, toasted pumpkin seeds and housemade cider vinegar dress up the vegetarian-friendly autumn alternative to the perennial favorite burrata salad. $13, 259 E. Erie St., Streeterville

Grilled Quail with Pumpkin and Bacon Shards at Brindille

Cardamom and anise-scented pumpkin purée lays the foundation for this autumn dish, followed by a bed of frisée and roquette salad and juicy grilled quail. Maple syrup-marinated bacon shards, toasted green pumpkin seeds and wedges of roasted and sautéed luxury pumpkin garnish the plate. “After roasting, we pan sauté the pumpkin with pink peppercorns, honeysuckle honey and butter, along with bacon drippings and cracklings from the slab bacon,” says Executive Chef/Owner Carrie Nahabedian. She uses luxury pumpkin from Three Sisters Garden to mimic the flavor of French musque de Provence. “You have to order them at the start of the season before Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass Cafe gets more than 1,000 pounds to make her great pumpkin pies,” Nahabedian says. “Lucky for Brindille and our guests that Tracey and Sarah are my friends and I can snag a hundred pounds for my use!”
$22, 534 N. Clark St., River North