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5 Recipes for a Pumpkin Feast

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Pumpkin everything season is in full swing in my corner of the world. Albeit not eating as many varieties in as much quantity as I envisaged myself doing in my wildest dreams, I’m still pretty happy with how many different recipes I’m working my way through this season. And we’re not even half-way through October!

My favourite thing about pumpkins so far – two things, actually – is that they’re immensely versatile and surprisingly easy to prepare. After I bring home a harvest from the farmer’s market, I usually halve them, remove the seeds, and pop them in the oven for half an hour. This gives me the pumpkin purée that I need to make soups, risottos, cakes, and pretty much anything else that involves pumpkins for the rest of the week. Roasted pumpkin halves can also be used as edible serving bowls for hearty fillings or to beef up salads when chopped (with some skill) into manageable chunks. (This is especially practical with Hokkaido pumpkins, as their skin can be kept on and consumed.)

The pinnacle of my pumpkin endeavour was reached last Friday, when a friend and I orchestrated a pumpkin feast for us and our partners. We cooked up a pumpkin storm, gorged ourselves on succulent gourds, drank plenty of wine, and played a nerve-wracking 3-hour game of Monopoly. Below are the recipes we made, some of which I took the liberty of adapting/translating from Spanish.

To prepare the feast, we used 3 large Hokkaido pumpkins, which we halved, seeded, and shoved in the oven for 30 minutes at 200°C, or until soft. You can make things easier for yourself by roasting one pumpkin in advance, which will allow you to get started on the hummus and bread while the other two pumpkins are roasting.

Appetiser: Pumpkin Hummus

Adding pumpkin puts a suave twist on traditional hummus. In a blender, combine purée from 1/2 large pumpkin with 1 cup drained garbanzo beans1 large garlic clove, 2 tbsp tahini, a good pouring of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon. Add water to adjust the consistency, then salt and pepper to taste. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chilli flakes, with bread or as a dip for crackers or crunchy veggies.

Soup: Pumpkin Soup With Curry

Anything with curry is bound to be good, but this soup is magical, and so easy to make! Heat some olive oil in a large pot, add 1 chopped leek and let cook until it becomes soft and fragrant, adding 2 tsp curry powder somewhere in the process. Dunk in the purée from 1 pumpkin (without the skin), pour in 800ml of vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes, then blend together. Return the soup to the stove and add 1/2 cup cream or milk. Season to taste and serve sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Main Course: Couscous With Pumpkin, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

This was my friend’s choice, and quite frankly, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was! (Pumpkins and tomatoes are a surprisingly tasty combination!) For four people, prepare 400g couscous in a large bowl. Sauté one grated garlic clove on some olive oil on a pan, add a generous bunch of roughly chopped spinacha handful of halved cherry tomatoes, and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the spinach wilts and the tomatoes are nice and soft. Dump the contents of the pan on the couscous, top with chunks of 1/2 roasted pumpkin, and sprinkle generously with goat cheese. Dress with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Serve hot or cold.

Dessert: Spicy Pumpkin Bread With Chocolate Glaze

This is the only recipe we actually didn’t make, but since we intended to and since I’ve made it countless times in the past two weeks, I thought I’d include it here anyway, in my own simplified and amplified version. In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients: 1 1/2 cups flour1/2 tsp salt3/4 cup brown sugar1 tsp baking sodapurée from 1/2 pumpkin1/2 cup sunflower oil2 eggs1/4 cup milk1/2 tsp grated cloves1 tsp ginger1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Transfer the dough into a buttered loaf pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes at 180°C. Once the bread has cooled, glaze it with 1/3 cup melted chocolate.

Snack: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This is such an easy thing to do, it doesn’t even need a recipe! Once you’ve scooped the seeds from your pumpkins, separate them from the pumpkin guts, rinsing if necessary to rid them of any residue. Toss them together with some oilsalt, and seasoning of choice (I like to use chilli on mine, but just salt is fine as well), then spread them out evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes at 150°C, giving them a toss every 10 minutes or so.

Happy feasting!

{image and recipe credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}
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