Well, we’re in the midst of Winter now and the breeze certainly feels like there’s snow falling somewhere – I’m not a person who likes the cold weather. And as I write this, the sun is shining through the windows with only a few grey clouds in the sky. It really doesn’t look like a Winter’s day, as I observe from the comfort of my lounge room with the heater on! 😉
What food helps you forget the cold outside? I have to say that just the thought of a roast lamb with all the trimmings, makes me forget how cold it is outside right now. Also a good curry and a hearty, tasty soup are the other dishes we enjoy making & eating during this colder time of year. There’s nothing better than having pieces of fresh, thick-cut crusty bread, smothered with butter with all soups, do you agree?
I came across this Jarrahdale pumpkin when I visited my old workplace to get a room divider. My old boss grows them and no one had claimed it so it was mine for the taking – happy days. With a 5kg pumpkin and new room divider in tow, it’s time to try and test some other recipes using pumpkin other than soup.
If you’ve never had a Jarrahdale pumpkin, you’ll find it looking very similar in colour, shape and size to a Queensland blue pumpkin, but it has less ribs than the Queensland blue. The flesh isn’t as sweet as a butternut pumpkin, which compliments a roast perfectly. Unlike a couple of other pumpkins out there, the flesh is bright orange in colour and isn’t stringy when you try to remove the seeds – they come away from the flesh quite easily. The Jarrahdale is perfect for roasting, baking and making soups.
This was the first time I’ve ever tried a Jarrahdale, I’ve usually bought Jap (or Kent) pumpkin or Butternut and the two qualities I loved about this pumpkin was the fact it wasn’t sweet and that while roasting, the flesh stayed intact and didn’t go all ‘mushy’ like other pumpkins do when roasted.
Keep the skin on while roasting pumpkin – it helps the flesh stay in one piece
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Use any pumpkin if Jarrahdale isn’t available in your area
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Roasting time may vary depending on your oven. The pumpkin should change to a golden orange, with slight browning which adds to the flavour
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To remove the pumpkin skins from the roasted pumpkin, use a small, sharp knife
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Any excess soup can be frozen
COOK: 1 hour and 15 minutes roasting + 15 minutes blending and crisping bacon
SERVES: 4 as a main, 8 as an entree
2 kilograms Jarrahdale pumpkin, deseeded, cut into 2cm wedges
1 large garlic clove, skin on
1 onion, skin on, ends removed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt for seasoning the pumpkin
1½ litres chicken stock
FOR BACON CROUTONS:
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
4 rashers of bacon, cut into ½cm cubes
2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
Fresh chives, finely chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 200°C.
Place the pumpkin, garlic and onion on a baking tray and drizzle over olive oil. Season well with salt and then place the tray in the oven.
Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once half way through the cooking time. Remove from the oven once the pumpkin changes to a dark golden colour and allow to cool.
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a gentle simmer. Turn heat to low.
Once the pumpkin is cool to touch, remove the pumpkin, onion and garlic skins. Place in the saucepan with chicken stock.
Using a stick blender, blitz until smooth. Keep warm until ready to serve.
To make the bacon croutons, heat the oil in a small frypan and add the cubed bacon. Fry until golden and crispy – about 8-9 minutes. Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.
Ladle soup into warm bowls, add ½ tablespoon of Greek yoghurt to each bowl. Sprinkle with bacon croutons and chives. If you love pepper, as my husband does, add freshly cracked black pepper too.