It’s that time of year when we’re all scooping out the flesh of our juicy pumpkins and wondering what to do with them. When supermarkets are selling large pumpkins so cheaply, surely we owe it to the farmers who’ve spent months growing them to at least use the flesh.
Here’s are two recipes that our family enjoy taken from two favourite cook books. First up, a delicately flavoured rice from Caribbean Food Made Easy by Levi Roots.
Pumpkin Rice Recipe
550ml (just under a pint) water
400g (14oz) pumpkin flesh, deseeded and cut into small chunks
2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp salt
450g (1lb) basmati rice
15g (½oz) butter
1. Put the water, pumpkin, 2 sprigs of thyme and salt in a saucepan, cover with a lid, bring to the boil then turn down and simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes or until soft. Remove the thyme and very roughly mash the pumpkin with a potato masher.
2. Wash the rice two or three times in a bowl to remove some of the starch, swishing it round in cold water and draining, until the water is almost clear, then add it to the pumpkin mixture. The liquid needs to cover the rice by about 2.5cm (1in). Add a little more water if necessary (or pour off some if there’s too much). Add the butter to the pan and mix until it melts. Pop the lid back onto the pan, bring the mixture to the boil then turn down to simmer on a very low heat for 20 minutes. No matter how tempted, don’t take the lid off as the heat needs to be kept in the saucepan. Don’t worry if the rice brows slightly on the base of the pan. After twenty minutes, turn off the heat and leave for a few more minutes, or until you’re ready to eat. Add the remaining spring of thyme and, if you want to serve it with lots of style, pack into a lightly oiled dish and turn it out in a neat mound on to a serving plate.
The second recipe we use for the flesh is a lovely Pumpkin Soup from The New Covent Garden Food Co Book of Soups
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
25g (1oz) butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
200g (7oz) potatoes, peeled and chopped
900g (2lb) pumpkin, diced
250g (9oz) carrots, diced
1.2ltrs (2pints) vegetable stock
150ml (1/4pint) milk
demerara sugar to taste
finely grated nutmeg to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the onion and cook gently for five minutes with the lid on. Add the potato, 700g of the pumpkin, the carrots and the vegetable stock. Cover, bring to the boil then turn down and simmer gently for about 20 mins until the vegetables are tender.
Cool a little, then purée in a liquidiser. Return to a clean saucepan and stir in the milk.
Meanwhile, boil some water with a little added salt and cook the remaining pumpkin for two minutes. Drain and add to the soup. Add the sugar, nutmeg and seasoning to taste. Reheat gently.
This makes a table talking centrepiece if you serve the soup in a hollowed out a pumpkin. For an added touch, line the base with some toasted baguette topped with grated Gruyère cheese before adding the soup, and popping the lid back on.
Have you any favourite pumpkin recipes?