With autumn in full flow and Halloween just around the corner, now is the perfect time of year to be eating the iconic pumpkin or squash. In season and versatile for both sweet and savoury dishes, our executive chef at Sundial Group, Jerry Toth, shares 5 great pumpkin meals:
Pumpkin Risotto with Bacon
A great autumnal dish, this risotto has a great depth of flavour and is a real hearty dish, perfect for autumn. We incorporate pumpkin puree into the risotto and finish with roasted pieces of pumpkin to add texture. The bacon is a perfect accompaniment, but could be excluded to make it a delicious vegetarian meal. Try adding leeks at the start or stir in frozen peas 5 minutes before you serve, this adds more vibrant colours and texture to the dish.
Americans are to thank for this delicious dessert, and although it has never really taken off in the UK, this Thanksgiving classic is perfect for Halloween parties. A lot of recipes call for canned pumpkin puree, and while it does make a great pie, we prefer to use butternut squash, roasted and then pureed. Mixed with cinnamon, ginger and cloves, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it before! An optional lug of rum works well with the spices and gives it an adult kick we can’t resist!
Pumpkin in a curry can become the star of the show and you shouldn’t miss the meat at all! We like a Sri Lankan or Mauritian twist, by adding coconut link and loads of ginger. Chilli is great with pumpkin, so don’t be shy when throwing this in the dish. You could even add chickpeas to bulk the dish out and to give texture. Top tip: make in advance so the flavours have plenty of time to develop.
There are so many variations to this, that you could be eating it all autumn. We love using roasted pumpkin to get in the most flavour, adding it to sweated onions and celery and the best chicken or vegetable stock you can get your hands on. Chilli works well here as does grated nutmeg, apple, stem ginger, coconut milk and cumin…the list is endless. Finishing with roasted pumpkin seeds and a swirl of crème fraiche finishes it off perfectly.
Roasted pumpkin takes centre stage again here, stirred through pasta with crème fraiche is just perfect. The caramelised pumpkin goes so well with garlic, chilli and spinach, and you could even throw in a few walnuts for texture. Alternatively, try an alfredo style dish with goats cheese, cream, crispy sage and plenty of parmesan to finish.