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 Taste.com.au. 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.
** What we call butternut pumpkin is also known elsewhere as butternut squash.
- 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
- 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.
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Using a food processor or stick blender, process until smooth.
- 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.
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 Taste.com.au 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
- 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.
- Remove to a bowl. Repeat with remaining oil and lamb, adding more oil if necessary.
- 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.
- 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.
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.