As we experience the last cold weather here in South Africa before Summer arrives, it seemed appropriate to take advantage of the beautiful pumpkins that are filling our grocery shelves. Our normal limited choice of traditional pumpkins has suddenly given way to pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, and I couldn’t resist these little beauties. Pumpkins go hand in hand with the month of October, Halloween, and falling leaves, and to mark these occasions for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, and for those of us in South Africa dressed in our Winter woolies, here are two recipes to keep our hearts and tummies warm.
Roasted Pumpkin and Citrus Soup
Cut the pumpkin into small pieces and roast with a sprinkling of Coriander and Cumin until golden brown, and then add this to sauteed celery, onions and chicken stock for a full roasted taste. Blend the soup until thick and creamy and add milk or water to make it to the consistency of your liking. I added the juice of one nectarine to add a delicious sweetness to this spicy and aromatic soup. Swirl with a dollap of Crème fraîche, cream or natural yogurt, and serve hot decorated with chopped greens.
Mini Pumpkins stuffed with Goodness
Roast these little gems in the oven for 15 minutes to cook the soft juicy inners and then stuff them with a room temperature salad of chickpeas, corn, red onion, peppers, green beans, coriander and rice of your choice. I used a beautiful Venere Black Rice which is called “the rice of the emperor ” in China. This nutritious black rice is cultivated in the city of Novara in the northwestern region of Piemonte in Italy. Another rice which I absolutely love using is Red Rice which has a nutty flavour, with a high nutritional value. Whatever your choice of rice this is a great salad which I normally serve as a rainbow salad topped with a coriander, lime and chilli dressing, and topped with roasted cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds .
- 500g pumpkin, cubed
- 25ml Olive Oil/butter combination
- Cumin and Coriander spices
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 2 sticks of celery diced
- 1 onion
- 600ml chicken stock
- Juice of 1 nectarine or orange
- Heat the oven to 180ºC and spread pumpkin cubes onto an oven tray and season with cumin and coriander spices.
- Roast for 10 - 15 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through and lightly golden brown. Do not overcook as the charred taste will spoil the roasted flavour .
- In a pan heat the butter/oil combination and saute finely chopped onion and celery until translucent.
- Add the roasted pumpkin and the stock and cook for a further 10 minutes until the flavours have infused.
- Blend with an immersion blender or in a magimix.
- Add the juice of one nectarine and test for taste.
- It is quite spicy but once you add the milk the flavour becomes less intense.
- Add enough milk to make the soup less thick and to a consistency of your liking. You can add water if you prefer to keep this soup dairy free.
Moroccan Salad with Mini Pumpkins
- Mini Pumpkins
- For the Salad:
- I can chickpeas
- 1 can corn
- 1 small red pepper, chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- ¼ cup rice of your choice
- 2 sticks celery
- 6 Green beans
- (You can add borlotti or red beans if you like)
- Pumpkin seeds , cashew nuts and sunflower seeds, roasted
- 6 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 small red chilli
- a handful of coriander
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the top off the pumpkins and roast at 180ºC, cut side down for 10 minutes, until the flesh is cooked but the outside still firm.
- To make the salad, in a large bowl add drained chickpeas and corn.
- Chop the onion, pepper, green beans and celery finely, and add.
- Cook ¼ cup of rice of your choice and drain. Add to the salad.
- Roast seeds and nuts and add to the salad.
- To make the Dressing.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a jug or bowl and blend with an immersion blender.
- It should become thick and creamy and slightly green in colour from the coriander.
- Pour over the salad and fill the pumpkins.