Wild Side: Mashed Pumpkin

Sure mashed potatoes are the standard side dish for a big, fat venison steak or deer roast, but with Thanksgiving just around the corner, why not try a couple of ingredients that offer up some autumn flavors? Somewhat surprisingly, pumpkin and allspice make a great compliment to venison, and while you can pair them a number of ways, an easy mashed pumpkin side dish just might be the best.

*When buying (or growing) a pumpkin for this dish, try to avoid jack-o-lantern type pumpkins which generally have a thinner flesh. Look for pumpkin pie or cheese pumpkins at your local market.

Honeyed Mashed Pumpkin

1 fresh pumpkin of about 3-5 lbs.
2 tbs. honey
2 tbs. butter
½ tsp. allspice

Preheat oven to 450°.

Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds and place each half flesh-side down in baking dish.
Bake 30-45 minutes, or until you can pierce the skin with a knife.
(Alternately, you can boil or steam chunks of pumpkin, but I feel roasting adds a deeper flavor.)

Remove pumpkin from oven and scoop flesh into medium saucepan set over low heat.

Add butter, honey and allspice.

Mash thoroughly and serve warm with grilled venison steaks or venison roast.