This time last week our houses were awash with hollowed out pumpkins with wickedly grinning faces (or, in our house, handlebar moustaches) but now Halloween is over what are we doing with all those pumpkins left languishing in the shops now? Did you do anything with all that pumpkin flesh you carved? In most cases, I fear we just throw it away. I certainly don’t remember ever asking my mum what she did with it when I was a child.
It is time to end this catastrophic waste of food for two reasons: first, we are students, and anything is edible when you have been living out of your overdraft for as long as you can remember; second, it is actually really tasty. I got festive with my pumpkin this year to great effect (but it is important to remember pumpkin can easily be swapped for butternut squash if you don’t have one to hand). So here is the first recipe into my three part foray into the most autumnal of vegetables: pumpkin, sausage and sage casserole.
Knob of butter
1 chopped onion
Small handful chopped shallots (optional)
2 crushed garlic cloves
Handful of sage leaves, chopped
Flesh of half a medium pumpkin or butternut squash, cubed
White wine vinegar
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Tin of cannellini beans
500ml chicken stock
First, heat some butter on a medium heat in a large casserole dish (the largest one you can find. Bigger is better when it comes to casseroles) and fry six sausages in it. I chopped mine into bite size pieces, but you could equally leave them whole.
When they’re brown all over, throw in a chopped onion and, if you happen to have some, chopped shallots. Fry these for a while until they become translucent.
Then add a little crushed garlic (or a lot, if you’re anything like me) and a handful of chopped sage leaves. Keep cooking for a few minutes.
When it’s all starting to smell nice, add some cubed pumpkin and stir in. How much pumpkin you add really depends on the size of your casserole – by now it will be getting quite full. I had a medium sized pumpkin and only used half of the flesh.
Once the pumpkin is combined with the sausage and sage mixture, add a generous slug of white wine vinegar and turn up the heat. Leave this to sizzle away until most of the vinegar has evaporated.
Now add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of cannellini beans and enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover the mixture and fill the casserole – anything between 200 and 500ml should be about right. Alternatively, the beans could be used instead of sausages to make the casserole vegetarian.
Stir the casserole until everything is mixed, put the lid on and shove it in the oven at 180° for an hour or so.
Hey presto! A warming autumn dish with minimal effort. Serve the casserole immediately with some crusty bread. This will serve four hungry people – pumpkin is very filling!