Apart from providing glamorous pre-midnight transportation to royal balls, pumpkins are a wonderful kitchen staple. Restaurants are incredibly inventive with them, delivering burnished coulis, sorbet, and ravioli to their anticipative patrons. At our place, these orange stalwarts typically convert to soups, scones or roasted accompaniments – and are equally appreciated.
It was the perfect squat shape and the speckled skin, rather than shopping list requirement that ensured this weighty vegetable’s place in the trolley this week. There’s something quite reassuring about the sight of a big pumpkin on the kitchen bench. Perhaps it is the promise of soup and scones to come, or simply the rustic, homely image. Definitely those, but also something quite intangible yet equally significant. With the ever-increasing availability of pre-cut, prepackaged green grocery these days, the uniqueness of bringing home an uncut, unwrapped vegetable is so gratifying. And like a trophy for the wholesome shopper, worthy of proud display.
This week, haul your prize home, position it prominently and allow at least a day or two of solid admiration before applying your sharpest blade to provide your family with the spoils.
2 kg pumpkin cut into wedges with skin on
6 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Place pumpkin in roasting dish and bake for up to an hour until soft and skin begins to crisp.
Remove flesh from skin and place half in a blender with one cup of the stock. Blend until smooth and repeat with remaining flesh.
Put all of the soup in a large pot with remaining stock, honey and mustard. Simmer for 10 minutes until heated through.
Season with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and garnish with coriander leaves.
and for the scones….
2 cups SR flour
50g butter, chopped
1/4 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
1 egg, beaten lightly
milk for brushing
Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Grease baking tray.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter.
Add the pumpkin and egg.
Mix into a dough then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. A little extra flour may be required.
Pat out into a round and cut with scone cutter. Place on prepared tray and brush tops with milk.
Bake for 2o minutes or until risen and golden.
Postscript: we all have our ways with pumpkin soup and pumpkin scones. For me, it is to roast the pumpkin off before pureeing into soup, for depth of flavour. For the scones, as they are to be paired with the soup, sugar is deliberately omitted.