When the rain beats against the windows and the wind makes strange noises, it’s finally time for something I miss in the summer: spend hours in the kitchen without guilt that I should be enjoying the beautiful weather. Every fall I start new projects, most of the time it’s dishes that I want to perfect.
My last projects involves bread making, experimenting with aromatics and spices (still ;)), sweet potatoes and now pumpkin. And so this where this pumpkin dish comes from: I have cooked pumpkin soup before, also tarts and purées but up till now the pumpkin had always been a side dish which is shame for such a pretty vegetable.
This time my experiment was all about making it the central ingredient. The one that would finely shine 🙂 So I picked up a whole pumpkin that had been sitting in a bowl on the kitchen bench neglected for about two weeks and made an impromptu roast.
This dish was great fun to make mainly because peeling and slicing a pumpkin is always rather exciting (I often hear myself thinking: what am I going to find in there? :)) and the fact that I was just adding flavours and ingredients that I liked to it on the go was pretty cool.
Roasting the pumpkin intensifies and sweetens the flavour and the garlic, bacon, feta, chilli, sage, red onions and coriander add so much texture and dimension to it – almost forgot the pumpkin seeds they really belong to the dish! What I also liked about it was that it could be eaten cold or hot depending on your mood.
Spicy roasted pumpkin with garlic, red onion, sage, bacon and feta cheese:
Cooking time: 1hr
– olive oil
– 1.5kg pumpkin
– 6 gloves garlic – bruised
– 1tbsp dried chilli flakes
– 2tbsp ground coriander
– 2 large red onions, cut in 6 equal wedges
– 10 thin slices bacon
– 200gr feta cheese
– 3 to 4 sage twigs
– handful roasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Remove the seeds from pumpkin then chop and peel the pumpkin. Cut into wedges. Combine pumpkin in a large shallow baking paper-lined baking dish with oil, garlic, chilli, ground coriander and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, turning pumpkin once during cooking.
Add the red onion and bacon to the pumpkin and roast for a further 10 minutes. Finally add the sage twigs and crumble the feta over the pumpkin, roast for another 10 minutes.
Remove baking dish from the oven; cool 10 minutes. Scatter with roasted pumpkin seeds and serve. Enjoy!
This recipe combines a number of diverse flavours and merits a wine that can do the same. Normally the feta cheese calls for a Loire Valley white such as a Sancerre; I think something with a richer texture and less overt acidity balances better with the other ingredients in the dish.
A white Burgundy makes a good like-with-like match here. A note of hazelnut? Check. Mineral flavours and a medium body to balance the squash? Check. Refreshing acidity, perfect for feta cheese? It’s in there.
The Dutch boyfriend’s opinion:
Garlic. Red onion. Pumpkin. Bacon. These ingredients are well-known to me, but I have always eaten them sliced, diced or mashed as ingredients to dishes. But now these four were almost wholly cooked and it took me a few second to amass the courage to bite into the big piece of garlic. But even though my breath still smells intensely, it was very good. All the ingredients are very powerful flavour makers in their own right, and I feared the ensemble would just be a big chaos of flavours. But then the feta, oh sweet feta, came along and merged all these strong elements together. So without further ado: great flavours, a beautiful presentation and a nice new discovery. Me happy.