© David Loftus
the best baked pumpkin
Pumpkins are so versatile, the things you can do with them are endless! Their flavour goes well with chilli, nutmeg and sage. If youve never cooked one before, youre in for a real treat.
Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/gas 8. Cut the lid off the pumpkin and reserve it. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and keep them to one side. Make the hollow where the seeds were a little bigger by scooping out some more pumpkin flesh. Finely chop this pumpkin flesh and one of the garlic cloves. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Pour in a splash of olive oil, then add the chopped pumpkin, chopped garlic, onion, olives, and half the rosemary. Cook gently for 10 minutes or so until the pumpkin has softened.
Meanwhile, place the whole garlic clove and the remaining rosemary in a pestle and mortar. Crumble in the dried chilli, add a good pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon and bash until you have a paste. Add a little olive oil to loosen up the mixture and then rub the inside of the pumpkin with it.
Season the cooked pumpkin mixture and stir in the rice, cranberries, pistachios and tangerine zest with a pinch each of nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly then add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes (no longer or the rice will end up overcooked later).
Tear off a sheet of tin foil thats large enough to wrap the pumpkin in a double layer and lay on top of a baking tray. Place the pumpkin on top and spoon the rice mixture into it, then place its lid back on. Rub the skin with a little olive oil, wrap it up in the foil and bake in the oven for about an hour. The pumpkin is ready when you can easily push a knife into it. Bring it to the table and open it up in front of everyone. Cut it into thick wedges and tuck in, leaving the skin.
1 pumpkin (about 1 kg)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
a small handful of black olives, stoned and chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 dried chilli
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g basmati rice, washed and drained
75g dried cranberries
50g shelled pistachio nuts
zest of 1 tangerine
200ml vegetable stock, preferably organic