Food & Wine

Pumpkin – best served in a shell!

Pumpkin – best served in a shell!

October calls for just about everything pumpkin, and yes, while most of you might be thinking about it as little more than just a Halloween decoration, we think it’s time to rethink this plump, nutritious orange plant.

Chock-a-block-full of vitamins and minerals, but super low in calories, there are loads of creative ways pumpkin can be incorporated into meals, and here are two of our favourites, best served… straight up… in the shell.

Pumpkin Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large pumpkin

4 small pumpkins (wash, slice top, remove seeds)

2 to 4 carrots (depending on the size)
2 to 4 celery stalks (depending on the size)
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves
8 cups of stock (veggie or chicken)
2 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Greek yogurt to finish
Coriander leaves
Nutmeg

Method

Wash the large pumpkin, cut off the ends and then slice in half lengthwise. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt. Set pumpkin on a baking sheet (with foil for easy clean up) face side down. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place pumpkin in oven and let it bake for 20 to 35 minutes depending on the size.

While pumpkin is baking…
Clean, peel and dice your carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Then, in a heavy stockpot, drizzle olive oil on the bottom of the pot just to coat it. Then turn the heat to medium. Place the diced vegetables in the pot and allow them to sweat (not brown), adjusting the heat so that the veggies literally look like they’re sweating, releasing liquid and becoming tender. Add salt and pepper to taste, a pinch of thyme can be added, too. When they are ready, leave them in the pot and turn off the stove and wait until the pumpkin in the oven is ready.

Back to the oven…
Remove the pumpkin and allow it to cool. Scoop out the insides, the flesh only, leaving the hard outer skin and add the flesh to your pot with the carrots, celery, onions, garlic.

Place the pot back on the stove, set to medium and add the stock until all the vegetables are submerged in liquid. You may use additional stock if the consistency of the soup is too thick when it’s finished. Let the stock and vegetables simmer on the stove for about 15 to 20 min, again add salt and pepper to taste.

Take your soup off of the heat and blend ingredients together. You can use a hand mixer or blender. Blend ingredients until the soup has a smooth, creamy consistency. Serve in the smaller pumpkins that you’ve prepare, add a dollop of yogurt to each and coriander to garnish. Finish with a dusting of nutmeg.

 

Roasted pumpkin risotto

Serves 4
Ingredients

450g pumpkin flesh cut into wedges
4 small pumpkins (wash, slice top, remove seeds)

Olive oil
Salt
1 small onion
100g butter
1.5 litres light chicken or vegetable stock (you may not need it all)
380g risotto rice

125ml white wine

60g freshly grated parmesan

 

Method

Place pumpkin wedges on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Bake at 200°C for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is tender and golden brown. Once cooked, mash it roughly and set aside. Put the stock in a pan, bring to a slow boil and then turn it off.

Peel and dice the onion finely. Melt 50g of the butter in a heavy bottomed pan with relatively high sides over a low heat, add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook slowly until soft and translucent. Turn up the heat, add the rice and stir quickly so each grain is glistening with butter. Add the alcohol, which will seethe and be absorbed by the rice (about 18 minutes) and add the first ladleful of warm stock and stir until absorbed.

Continue adding the stock, only adding the next ladleful when the previous one has been absorbed. Make sure the pan never dries out. Each addition will take longer to absorb. After about 12 minutes start tasting the rice for readiness. Once tender, but still with inner firmness, add the last ladleful of stock.

Once this is absorbed add the warm mashed pumpkin, stir well, and cook for another minute. The consistency should be loose so you might need a little more stock. Turn off the heat; add the rest of the butter and the parmesan then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until creamy and glossy. Leave to sit for a minute, stir again and serve in your prepared pumpkin shells.

15473091 – pumpkin risotto

 

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