Sam’s Tip of the Season: Pumpkins

Posted on the 26th October 2018

It’s National Pumpkin Day today!

Pumpkin carving for Halloween is a must in my house. We love taking time to choose exactly the right one. Which way round will it sit? Is it round enough? Will our design fit? When taking so much care over choosing and carving it’s easy to forget how delicious these autumnal veggies are.  Although you don’t have to wait until Halloween to eat pumpkin. I always make sure to use up my lanterns too.

You can use almost every bit of your pumpkin: the scooped flesh is great to add to soups and stews and the lantern can be roasted after use. When cooking a carved pumpkin, be sure to cook it the day after Halloween before it starts to wilt. Make sure you cut out any wax drips or charred patches if you’ve used a candle inside.

There are so many tasty recipes for pumpkin; salads, lasagnes and soups are all perfect for repurposing a lantern. If you have a large ornamental pumpkin, it’s best to make soup rather than roasting: they can be a little short on flavour.  Pumpkin risotto is a firm favourite of mine. This recipe from our online recipe collection calls for roasted pumpkin with Swiss chard. The chard gives an earthy flavour which compliments the sweetness of pumpkin. If you want to try a bit of ‘root to tip’ eating, clean and roast the seeds from your pumpkin to scatter on top of the finished risotto.

If you’re not quite ready to make a full dish you can still make use of your lantern: peel, chop and roast it for use later in the week. Roast your pumpkin with the skin on, allow it to cool and remove the skin later. You’ll find it will peel away much more easily.  Or try making pumpkin puree, it’s a mouth-watering addition to cookie and cake recipes, an alternative ingredient in banana bread, and don’t forget about pumpkin pie!

Roast Pumpkin and Swiss Chard Risotto

Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

600g pumpkin
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
a pinch cinnamon powder
50g blanched almonds, chopped
225g trimmed leek, finely chopped
250g Arborio or Carnaroli risotto rice
100ml vegetarian dry white wine
900ml-1litre light vegetable stock
150g Swiss chard (leaves only) roughly shredded
1 ½ tbsp single cream
Season to taste

To serve: a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

Method

  1. Heat oven to 190°C / gas mark 5. Cut the pumpkin into quarters, peel and de-seed. Then cut into thick slices/segments (approx 12-15cm) and place in a roasting pan. Mix together 2 tbsp oil, maple syrup and cinnamon and drizzle over the pumpkin. Roast for 25-30 minutes until tender, take out of the oven and cut into large dice.
  2. In a small frying pan heat 1 tsp oil and lightly toast the almonds until golden. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and sauté the leek until soft. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated and slightly golden. Pour in the wine and stir until it is absorbed.Add one ladle of hot stock and simmer until absorbed. Repeat. After 10 minutes add the chard and let wilt. Continue to add stock at intervals and cook until absorbed into the rice (you may not need all the stock). Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Once rice is tender but still very slightly al dente, add the cream and cook for a further minute before adding the pumpkin. Remove from heat, cover and rest for 2 minutes. When ready to serve sprinkle over the roasted almonds and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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