Journey Forth

19 October, 2008

Pumpkin

Filed under: Family,Food,Health,Life,Random,The Good Life,Vegetables — by Karen @ 11:01 am

Pumpkins are part of the cucurbitaceae family (as are cucumbers, courgettes and melons). The are ver versatile in cooking – most parts can be eaten from the fleshy shell, to the seeds, and even the flowers. When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. Pumpkins are a good source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant.Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease, as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.
My favourite pumpkin recipe is: Roasted Pumpkin & Thyme Soup with Gruyere Cheese

Ingredients
 
3kg unpeeled pumpkin
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g butter
2 medium onions, chopped
8 small sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, plus extra leaves to garnish
2.25litres vegetable stock
1 teasp salt
300ml single cream
175g Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas 6.
2. Cut the pumpkin into chunky wedges and scoop away all the fibres and seeds. Rub the wedges with oil, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then place them into one large or two smaller roasting tins, skin-side down. Transfer to the oven to roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.
3. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, slice away and discard the skin and cut the flesh into small chunks.
4. Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onion and half the thyme leaves and cook gently for about ten minutes until the onion is very soft but not browned. Add the roasted pumpkin, any juices from the plate, the stock and one teaspoon of salt. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
5. Leave the soup to cool slightly, then add the remaining thyme leaves and liquidise in batches until smooth. Return to a clean pan and bring back to a gentle simmer.
6. Stir in the cream and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and place a small handful of the grated Gruyère into the centre of each. Scatter a few more thyme leaves on top and serve.

Serves 8
Preparation time: less than 30 mins 
Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour 
Recipe by Rick Stein
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