Sunday, 29 March 2009

Harvest Time - Pumpkin

Posted by Bel
From Spiral Garden

are my most favourite vegetables. We have a lot of visitors from overseas (WWOOFers on our farm) and it's amazing how few of them are familiar with this wonderful vegetable. I think they're more commonly known as "squash" in the US, is that right?

Here in Australia it's Autumn - harvest time. We're harvesting lots of pumpkins, with still more to come through into early Winter.

So I thought I'd share some of my favourite recipes with those who are also harvesting. And for those who aren't - here's some inspiration to plant pumpkins soon!

Pumpkin Risotto
1 whole small Jap pumpkin, cubed in 2cm pieces
1 medium brown onion, diced
2L+ boiling water with 1.5 tblspn Massell Chicken-style stock powder
4 cups white rice
1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs or 1 tbsn fresh

Dice onion and pumpkin, saute in a large, heavy-based pot in a little olive oil until golden and softening. Add the rice and stir for approximately 1 minute. Add about 1L of the water with stock powder added. Stir until absorbed.
Add remaining water and half-cover pot over medium heat so rice absorbs water, stirring often. Have extra water at hand to keep risotto moist and stop it sticking to the base of the pot.
When risotto is soft and creamy, add some freshly ground pepper. Serve with some steamed green vegies and grated cheese.

Pumpkin Soup
1 whole large Jap pumpkin
3 large potatoes, peeled
2 large brown onions, peeled & quartered
few large cloves garlic, peeled
Massel Vegetable Stock Powder

Roast pumpkin, onion and garlic in a little olive oil until browned. Boil potatoes, diced, in about 3L of water with 2 tbspn stock powder. When potatoes are soft, pour in roasted vegetables and boil for a further 10 mintues. Blend with stick mixer. Add freshly ground black pepper. If soup is too thick (depends on the pumpkin), add a splash of milk if you wish. Serve with bread. Freezes well. Pumpkin and lentil soup, with added cooked red lentils and some extra spice is a wonderful variation on this recipe. You can also add sweetcorn, cannellini beans, croutons, cream and other ingredients to make the most of the abundant harvest.

Pumpkin Fruit Cake
250g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed pumpkin
2 cups wholemeal flour + 1 tsp baking powder
250g mixed fruit of your choice, diced

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat well one at a time. Add the pumpkin, flour with baking powder and fruit. Mix well and bake at 170 degrees C or until brown on top and inserted skewer comes out clean. *Tip* At harvest time, boil or steam pumpkin, mash and freeze in 1-cup portions in the freezer. Then you have pumpkin for this cake (and other recipes) for months to come.

Pumpkin & Spinach Frittata
900g pumpkin, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbspn olive oil
6 eggs
1/2 cup cream
40g spinach leaves
sprinkle of parmesan & grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Bake pumpkin, brushed with oil and garlic, till tender. Line baking dish with paper. Whisk eggs and cream and season. Layer ingredients in dish & bake for 25 minutes.

Pumpkin Lasagne
lasagne sheets
500g chopped pumpkin
olive oil
medium onion, chopped
clove garlic, crushed
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup mozarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup tasty cheese, grated

Cook & mash pumpkin. Add olive oil, onion and garlic. Place a layer of pumpkin, lasagne sheets, half the ricotta... Then lasagne sheets, tomato paste, etc, etc until ingredients are used up and dish is topped with cheese. Bake at 180 degrees C for around 35 minutes or until pasta sheets are cooked through. *Tip* Frozen pumpkin, as suggested for the fruit cake, is fine for this recipe too!

I also use pumpkin in curries, with mashed potato, in quiches, in any casseroles or stews, as roasted small cubes through a green salad or cold roast pumpkin pieces in a salad wrap... As I said, it's my very favourite vegetable! Please feel free to paste or link to your favourite pumpkin recipes in the Comments section! Happy growing and cooking!