Autumn is here (although it’s unseasonably warm!) and our barn is filled with pumpkins and colourful squash! Pumpkins are notoriously great for carving however are often overlooked when it comes to cooking. This recipe is a great idea for an Autumnal dinner party, it looks amazing and will impress your guests, but will also taste great and yes, it’s using pumpkins!
1 medium sized pumpkin or round squash (approx. 1kg)
4 tbsp olive oil
100g wild rice
1 large fennel bulb
1 Bramley apple
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
30g pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1 large pack of parsley, roughly chopped
3 tbsp tahini
pomegranate seeds to serve
Heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Cut off top of pumpkin/squash and use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Get rid of any pithy bits but keep the seeds for another time (they can be used in other recipes!)
Put the pumpkin on a baking tray, rub with 2tbsp of oil inside and out, and season well. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until tender, with the ‘lid’ on the side.
Meanwhile, rinse the rice well and cook following the pack instructions, then spread out on a baking tray to cool. Thinly slice the fennel bulb and apple, then squeeze over 1/2 the lemon juice (this stops them discolouring).
Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the fennel seeds and chilli flakes then once the seeds begin to pop, stir in 1/2 the garlic and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes until softened then mix through the apple, pecans and lemon zest. Remove from the heat. Add the mixture to the cooked rice and then stir in the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning.
Pack the mixture into the cooked pumpkin then return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until everything is piping hot. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining lemon juice with the tahini, the rest of the garlic and enough water to make a dressing. Serve the pumpkin in the middle of the table, topped with pomegranate seeds and the dressing.