‘Pass the pumpkin, please’.
Said about three British people over the course of centuries. And why? Because the pumpkin is now nothing more than a Halloween decoration and seldom will it see the interior of our ovens.
Think of it as a pissed off bauble.
And it has every right to be. Us Brits tend to opt for the squash or the sweet potato when we want to cross our tables with a meaty orange vegetable, but I for one think that pumpkin has earned it’s status as a staple on the British autumnal table.
Roast pumpkin has a toothsome earthy flavour but it’s sweetness is what I like to play with. The sweetness of pumpkin means it can hold strong, punchy flavours creating a quite lovely power balance.
The good thing about pumpkin is that it doesn’t actually take too long to cook – in fact, cooking the pumpkin for too long makes it quite dry and scratchy, so it’s perfect for the idle and impatient.
What’s more is that I don’t even bother to peel it. Nope. The skin will soften in the oven and you can eat it no problem, the only thing we’re doing here is removing the seeds. Sorted.
This is great alongside some roast turkey or chicken but with the quantities below doubled, makes a wonderful little autumnal salad, maybe with some sharp, peppery rocket leaves.
x 2 small pumpkins (each weighing around 310 – 320g)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
40 – 50g blue cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- First cut up your pumpkin. I find the easiest way to do this is to use a sharp knife and cut the pumpkin in half from the top down. Then, using a spoon, remove the seeds, scraping the cavity to make sure any straggly bits are removed. Then, put the pumpkin flesh side down on a cutting board and cut each half into slices roughly the size of a fat thumb.
- Put the pumpkin pieces into a large-is bowl and add the oil, tarragon, brown sugar, paprika, and a scattering of salt and pepper. Using your hands or a spoon, mix up the bowl so that the pumpkin is evenly coated in the mix.
- Line a baking tray with some parchment and tip the pumpkin onto the tray, spacing the pieces out as much as you can.
- Put the train in the oven for 15 minutes and in this time, cut the almonds into small pieces – I find this easy to do with a sharp knife.
- After 15 minutes, take the pumpkin out of the oven and scatter over the almonds and crumble over the blue cheese, popping back in the oven for a further 5 minutes for the almonds to toast and the cheese to melt.
- Remove from the oven and use a spatula to transfer the pumpkin and the gooey cheese and almonds to a bowl and serve.