Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Pumpkin

I've mentioned at least once that I was going to do a post about pumpkin's and that day has come!

You might ask why I wanted to do this. I think that as hard as we try, we often have preconceptions that countries with similar food cultures will use certain items in the same way as we do, and it is only when you start having conversations that you find out that it isn't necessarily true.

I remember when I first started interacting with people around the world on the internet having a conversation about pumpkin. There was a lady from Holland who basically said that pumpkins weren't really used as food at all. There were some people who would hollow them out and make lanterns around Halloween (although certainly not everyone) but not to actually eat, and then there were the people from America and Canada who had only tried pumpkin as a sweet dish (for example pumpkin pie). For me, pumpkin is predominantly a savoury ingredient which is usually used in soups, roast dinners, casseroles etc. There are some people in Australia who like to use them in pumpkin scones, but I haven't actually tried those myself.

So here are a couple of my favourite ways to use pumpkin, firstly in a soup, and then in a Moroccan style casserole. The second recipe was my winter recipe a couple of years ago, by which I mean I find a recipe and then make it multiple times in the season, and then move onto the next recipe. A couple of years ago, I think I served it every time someone came for dinner. Unfortunately for my sister and brother in law that meant they had it a few times, but oh well!

The first recipe is Pumpkin Soup with a Twist and I originally found it at The good thing is that this is designed to be cooked in a slow cooker so you can just put it on and forget about it for a few hours.

  • 3/4 medium sized butternut pumpkin, skin and seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-1 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup full cream
  • chilli powder to taste, if desired
      1. Place pumpkin, potatoes, onion, curry powder and stock in a large slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for several hours until vegetables are tender.
      2. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Using a food processor or stick blender, process until smooth.
      3. Stir through the cream and chilli powder (if desired). Warm the soup through again, season to taste and serve. 
      *Evaporated milk can be used rather than cream for lower fat.
      ** What we call butternut pumpkin is also known elsewhere as butternut squash.

      The second recipe is what was called Easy Moroccan Lamb Tagine, although technically I guess it is a casserole given that it isn't actually cooked in a tagine. I originally found this recipe in a Super Food Ideas magazine, but it can also be found on the website, and when I serve it I tend to serve with cous cous and steamed green vegies, especially if I have guests.

      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1kg lamb leg or lamb rump steak, trimmed, cut into 4cm pieces
      • 1 large brown onion, diced
      • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
      • 2 x 410g cans Ardmona Rich Thick  Moroccan Style chopped tomatoes with ginger and coriander
      • 600g kent pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 3cm pieces
      • 400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
      • 200g green beans, trimmed, cut into 4cm pieces fresh coriander leaves, to serve

      1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or ovenproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add one-quarter of the lamb. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. 
      2. Remove to a bowl. Repeat with remaining oil and lamb, adding more oil if necessary.
      3. Add onion to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and pumpkin. Return lamb to pan. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil.
      4.  Remove from heat. Cover and place in oven. Cook for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Add chickpeas and beans. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until beans are tender. Spoon into bowls. Sprinkle with coriander. Serve.
        So there you have it. A couple of ways that I like to eat pumpkin.

        Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


        1. Oh boy I'm glad you posted this. I love pumpkin and winter squash in general.

          Both recipes look great. Love the crockpot soup (how easy!) and I always have lamb in the freezer so I'm happy to have a new recipe. I'm not sure we can get those tomatoes but I can just add my own ginger and coriander, no problem.

          Now I wish it were soup weather. I could eat soup every night.

        2. I am sure adding ginger and coriander to a can of chopped tomatoes will have the same outcome.

          It's soup and casserole weather here! Brrr!

        3. Wow, that sure looks delicious and I love butternut squash. Somehow though I never thought to put it in a casserole. That's a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing. If I could send you a little of this FL heat I would. Stay warm!

        4. We love using pumpkins and other fall squashes in foods in the fall. I do love pumpkin in baking, but it's not the only thing.

        5. Maybe what appears to be a difference in usage is really a difference in language. You link to "butternut pumpkin" at Wikipedia, but the first words are "butternut squash." I clicked the link because as soon as I saw the word "butternut," I thought SQUASH (not pumpkin). Maybe it's all in the words we use -- differently. Ask people about squash and you may have different answers.

          When I think of pumpkin, it's the very orange kind we carve into jack-o-lanterns. Here's a picture of one:

        6. I love pumpkin soup...I posted a recipe for a slightly more spicy one awhile back.

          And I love the lamb casserole. bit too hot here for it at the moment though.

        7. I love savoury pumpkin recipes! (And sweet ones...I just love pumpkin)

          Interesting that you consider butternut squash a pumpkin; here in the States, that's definitely a savoury ingredient and we definitely make butternut squash soup. :)

        8. I love pumpkin soup. Your recip sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing.

        9. Thanks for sharing! I love pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin, and pumpkin based baking and sweets, all made with the same orange produce used to make jack o'lanterns at Halloween. I also had the same thought as Bonnie and Eva above: butternut *squash* rather than pumpkin. In fact, one of my favorite dishes for Thanksgiving is my sister's butternut squash soup made with pureed squash and apple cider.

        10. I love pumpkin too but I will confess to having never made a pumpkin soup. I've made lots of pumpkin bread and pies, however. I'd like to give your soup recipe a try. Thanks for sharing.

        11. I also love pumpkin and have quite a few recipes. What I make most are Pumpkin breads & bars, soups, I have a faint memory of making scones several years ago. I also used to make pumpkin cheesecake but gave it up do to diabetes.

        12. I have pumpkins in stock for the next 3 months after my vine produced an ample supply for just the two of us - so thanks for some new ideas to play with. In fact today (at a cafe) I have a gorgeous roast vegie salad with Haloumi cheese and roast pumpkin was one of the main vegies - delicious. I have to say though, I love my mum's pumpkin pie, which hasn't really ever been popular in the cafes where I live, and I dont know why?

        13. I love pumpkin and squash! This post has me looking forward to my favorite fall recipes. Will definitely try your butternut squash (pumpkin) soup!

        14. I think I have only ever experienced pumpkin in sweet dishes, so it's exciting to me to see these savory recipes using pumpkin. I am going to have to try these, but it might be a little difficult to get a pumpkin around here when it's not October or November! Maybe I will just have to hang on to these recipes and wait for the right time. Thanks for posting this!

        15. I love pumpkin, sweet and savory! My favorite is the tortelloni stuffed with pumpkin that I ate in Italy. Yum! That soup recipe looks amazing - I will try it this winter! Thanks for sharing. Now I'm hungry...