With Halloween fast approaching you’re probably already getting your pumpkins in to carve up. Of course, once you have them hollowed and carved, just perfect for decorating your home, you’re left with a big question. Is there anything other than the traditional pumpkin pie you can do with the leftovers? Read on for a few less obvious ideas.
Pumpkin and Sausage Casserole
- flesh from 1 pumpkin, cubed
- 6 pork sausages
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 heaped teaspoon dried sage
- 200g can chopped tomatoes
- 400g can cannellini (white) or red kidney beans
- about 500 ml chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Fry the sausages in butter on a medium-high heat until they become golden brown, then add the onion, thinly sliced, with a little more butter if needed. Fry until the onion softens, then transfer to a casserole dish (including any remaining melted butter!). Add the garlic and sage, mix well and continue to cook on the hob for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the pumpkin and white wine vinegar, stir and let the vinegar boil away for another 2-3 minutes. Finally, add the tomatoes, beans, sugar and stock, then bring to the boil and transfer to a preheated oven at 200C. Leave to cook for 60-70 minutes, then serve with dumplings or potatoes.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious in and of themselves, and are easy enough to toast at home for a tasty nibble! Remove the seeds from the pumpkin flesh and rinse them under cold water. Dry with paper towels (or just leave to dry naturally if you have the time), then lightly coat with olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking tray, and pop into an oven at 200C for about 50 mins until nice and browned. You can vary this by adding seasoning to the seeds before roasting, from simple salt to garlic powder.
- flesh from 1 pumpkin, cubed (approx 750g)
- 2 onions, sliced
- 750ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 large potato, peeled and sliced
- Small pot double cream (approx 150ml)
Take a large saucepan and boil the potato in the stock until just turning soft. Meanwhile, fry the pumpkin and onion in olive oil until softened and turning golden, at which point add these to the boiling stock. Continue to simmer the vegetables for around 10 minutes, or until the squash and potato is soft enough to blend. Transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor (or use a hand blender) and blend until smooth. Finally, stir in the double cream and season with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg to taste, reheating if necessary over a low to medium heat.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can use pumpkin, and these recipes needn’t be kept for when pumpkins are readily available. Butternut squash tends to be easy to obtain for longer, and this and other winter squashes are virtually identical to pumpkin in terms of taste and how to cook. So you’ve no excuse not to give these ideas a go! It's also great fun for kids to see what other things can be made with a pumpkin.