We got the cutest little pumpkin in our veggie box this week. Not one of the miniature kinds, but just a tiny pumpkin. A bit too small to do anything like make a pie or anything like that with . . . the perfect size for just two.
When I lived in North American I would never have thought of using pumpkin for anything savoury. It was always just used for pies, muffins, cakes etc. Oh, and for Jack O'Lanterns on Halloween. In fact the end of October for me is just not the same without the smell of burning pumpkins in the air!
Over here though, they do all sorts of interesting things with pumpkins . . . savoury things. Delicious things. And I'm not just talking soup . . . there's ravioli's and lasagne's . . . stews, and curries . . .
I looked at the pumpkin for a little while and then decided that I would make a delicious gratin with it, combining it with some of the chard that was also in my veggie box. I had fond memories of that delicious card gratin I made a few weeks back and was longing for something similar again.
It turned out fabulous! I used the basic same recipe that I did a few weeks back, but with a few changes. I steamed the pumpkin, chard stems and leaves. I also added a whole wheat and pumpkin seed topping instead of a cheese one. (although if you wanted to throw some cheese in there it certainly wouldn't go amiss!)
It was moreishly scrummy . . . the pumpkin all meltingly tender, and all pumpkinee . . . the chard all earthily nom nommy . . . that moreishly butter topping, all crunchy and a bit nutty.
All in all, I'd call this a success. I may grow some pumpkins next year just so I can have my fill of lovely dishes such as this. Nigel would be so proud.
*Pumpkin and Chard Gratin*
Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main
A deliciously different way to cook and serve pumpkin. Oh so scrummy!
1 small pumpkin, or butternut squash (about 1 pound in weight)
1 large bunch of swiss chard (about 1/2 pound in weight)
250ml of double cream (1 cup)
1 TBS grainy mustard
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 slice of whole wheat bread, made into coarse crumbs
1 dessertspoon of pumpkin seeds (the shelled ones you
can buy in the shops. They are green in colour)
1 TBS butter, melted
Peel your pumpkin, cut in half, deseed and then cut the halves into wedges about 1/2 inch thick. Wash your chard. Cut the stems from the leaves and then cut the stems into 1 inch lengths. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Place the pumpkin wedges into a colander and place the colander over the simmering water. Cover and steam until the pumpkin is almost fork tender. Add the chard stems and steam for a few minutes longer. Remove from the colander and place into a buttered gratin dish, mixing them together decoratively. Place the leaves of the chard in the colander and steam them for several minutes as you did the pumpkin. Remove and then tuck them in around the pumpkin wedges in the dish. Season with some sea salt and a grinding of black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.
Whisk together the cream, mustard, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat gently. Remove from the heat and then pour this mixture over top of the pumpkin and chard leaves.
Stir together the bread crumbs, pumpkin seeds and melted butter. Sprinkle this mixture over top of the casserole.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until bubbling, golden brown and all is meltingly deliciously scrummily melded together.
Over in The Cottage today, a delicious Artichoke and Potato Salad.