Pumpkin favourites

I realise that it is customary to have a photo of the finished dish when sharing a recipe. However, this is my all time favourite photo featuring a pumpkin and I am sure you can imagine a plate of roasted pumpkin without much effort.  Here the Ngubane boys of Hawkstone Primary School in Karkloof attempt to pick up the huge pumpkin they found hidden in their vegetable garden.  Such excitement as more and more treasures were discovered under the comfrey, mielies and amaranthus!  One of my favorite things about pumpkins is that they lurk quietly, waiting to surprise you one Autumn day while you are  mulching.

Anyway, the point of this post is to share the Pumpkin Stew recipe mentioned in my 50th birthday party story. Pumpkins epitomise abundance and I couldn’t resist adding a few of my other favorites too.

Pumpkin stew (from Pumpkin Party)

Roast crescents of pumpkin or butternut (sliced lengthways) in the oven until browned – sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, brown sugar and cinnamon before putting in the oven.

Fry small peeled onions in a pan until golden, add whole peeled garlic cloves and pitted prunes and just enough water to cover.  Simmer until water is absorbed and add a little more as needed. The onions become soft and caramelised all the way through and the prunes start to disintegrate into the sauce. Should take about 20 minutes. At the end add a handful of blanched almonds. Pour the sauce over the pumpkin pieces with lots of fresh chopped parsley and serve with couscous.

Pumpkin soup

For the best tasting soup, roast pumpkins before blitzing into soup. No need to add much besides some chopped parsley, marjoram and garlic. Thin with veg stock or water.

Basic butternut soup

Chop and fry one potato, one butternut and one clove of garlic. Then add water or stock to cover and cook until soft. Either add dhania/jeera powder while frying and fresh coriander at the end, or add fresh or dried chopped marjoram, rosemary, parsley to cook and extra marjoram at the end.

Pumpkin soup with Spinach

Bring to the boil: 8 cups of pumpkin, a chopped onion, a carrot, garlic and some stock if you like. After 20 minutes or so, blend until smooth. Return to the pan, add 50ml of olive oil, salt and pepper and throw in a couple of cups of baby spinach leaves. Stir for a minute, serve and add a spoon of yoghurt to each bowl.

Pumpkin Risotto

Roast chunks of pumpkin with oregano, salt and pepper (about 30-40 minutes).Make risotto as usual – fry in oil- celery, onion, cinnamon, chilli then add the rice. Slowly add hot stock and when risotto is al dente, stir in the pumpkin pieces. Drizzle with olive oil.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Bake 1kg pumpkin pieces for about 40 minutes. Boil 750g potatoes. Sieve/crush potatoes and pumpkin together and leave to cool. Add 3 organic eggs and then stir in 100g semolina flour. Fold gently together, season, grate in some fresh nutmeg and form a stiffish dough. Divide the dough into four – roll out each piece into a 2cm thick sausage and cut at 3cm lengths. Form the gnocchi by rolling each piece over the back of a fork. Cook in batches in a pan of simmering water (about 2-3 minutes) and when they come to the surface leave for a further 2 minutes.  Serve with sage leaves fried in butter or olive oil.  Oooh, mouth watering.

Ravioli stuffed with pumpkin

Instead of your usual ravioli filling, use leftover roasted pumpkin mixed with ricotta cheese. Serve with Sage Butter.

Isijingi

Steam chunks of pumpkin (or use left overs) and mash into warm, wet polenta (or mielie meal) at a ratio of 2 parts pumpkin to 1 part of mielie meal. Drizzle with olive oil or stir in some butter. The yummiest thing to serve this with is steamed pumpkin leaves (imifino yentanga). Pick the new smallish ones and the tendrils at the end of the vine, steam and drizzle with olive oil.  You could pick some courgette flowers too and fry them as an accompaniment (or just tear them up ans enjoy raw.). Harvest food at it’s best.

Pumpkin and Potato Coconut Curry

Fry onion, garlic, chilli, dhania&jeera powder, ginger, potato and butternut for a few minutes. Then add a bashed stalk of lemongrass, lime or lemon leaves, flat parsley, lots of coriander leaves and stalks, some lemon peel and a squeeze of lemon juice. Pour in a can of coconut milk and cook gently until tender. Serve with basmati rice or egg noodles and more coriander leaves.

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