In my last nostalgic nod to all things ‘fall’, I forgot one crucial ingredient. Pumpkin. (Despicable of me, I know). The Americans source, make, serve, create everything, pumpkin.
And so, logical post-Halloween bestover recipes will also be pumpkin, everything.
I recently stopped by Caravan’s latest Bankside soft opening and devoured the most delicious roasted squash with miso, blue cheese and thai basil (weird, but fantastic). Shortly thereafter I read Tasting Table’s post on How to Cook with Squash Seeds; not bake nor roast, but cook. Intrigued. And as we all know, at this time of year, carved, hulled, decapitated pumpkins are a-plenty. Along with a little bestover imagination and fridge-find inspiration, this recipe was born.
Now, I’ve not done this before. Admit to the following, that is. But part of reducing kitchen waste, neglected leftovers and #ThinkBeforeYouToss-ing, means allowing yourself the creative freedom to experiment. Regardless of the end result, finding comfort that you’ve enough know-how to pull it back wherever said experiments go.
Ok so that was a lot of verbage to throw at you. All this to say, and admit to you, that this recipe is not perfect.
The technique is original, the flavours work, and overall the dish has potential. That's what I'd love for you to be inspired by. But the texture is different, perhaps not for everyone, (or maybe just not what it should be due to my insufficiently efficient blender… actually the more I think about it, the more I am concluding it's due to the latter…). And I want you to know this. Not. To dismiss this post, this concept, this recipe. But just to encourage you to play with it.
For starters, here’s what I’d do differently:
- Use a nutri-bullet (or simply an upgrade from my mini hand blender…)
- Make a creamier paste: blend longer, add more liquid.
- Add punch to the paste: tomato paste, paprika.
Perhaps this isn’t a conventional post or perfect recipe. But I hope you can understand what I’m trying to say, and better yet, give it a shot with your own fridge finds and pumpkin leftovers, just to see where you end up. The idea, after all, is to think before you toss... Hope you'll have a think with me.
Harissa-Pumpkin-Seed Roasted Pumpkin
Recipe inspired by Tasting Table. Makes 1 entire pumpkin – serves 6-8.
1 Pumpkin (seeds removed and set aside - about 3/4 cup/108g, stringy flesh scraped out, and sliced into half-moon segments)
1 heaped tbsp Harissa
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Rinse, clean and drain your pumpkin seeds before boiling in a pot of water with 1 tsp salt for 10 minutes – little tip picked up from Oh She Glows (and aids with digestion)
Meanwhile, finish cleaning and slicing your pumpkin – skin on – before placing on a baking tray.
Preheat your oven to 140*C Fan/150*C/300*F.
Proceed to drain, pat dry, and place seeds into a blender along with the harissa, water, olive oil and salt. Blend until the mixture reaches a pesto-like consistency.
Then tip the contents over your pumpkin wedges and with your hands, massage it across every surface, making sure as little as possible rests on the tray, and as much as possible coats the top (internal flesh) and sides of the pumpkin wedges.
Position upright – skin side down – on your tray, before placing in the oven and baking for 45-55 minutes, until tender, and golden brown all over. If the mixture appears overly dry after 30 minutes, lightly drizzle olive oil over the wedges. If the pumpkin is browning too quickly, cover in foil for the remaining oven time.
Serve with a herb, rocket, and lemon drizzled avocado salad, crumbles of mature cheddar cheese, a pinch of flaky sea salt, handful of spice roasted pumpkin seeds, and a final drizzle of olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar. And an extra dollop of plain yoghurt - say, The Collective's Straight Up, my personal favourite - and drizzle of harissa if you so desire.
As an appetizer or light lunch.
Pumpkins on their own – without the salad - would make a hearty side to stew, couscous salad, grilled fish (for example).
Substituting: harissa with ras el hanout as per Tasting Table’s original recipe, cheddar for parmesan, or a hard blue cheese as per Caravan’s menu, coriander and mint with parsley, pumpkin seeds with squash seeds. And if you've no more pumpkin left, why not try slathering the pumpkin or squash seeds over other root vegetables before roasting (ex. carrots, parsnip, celery root).