Pumpkin is one of those vegetables (yes, I know that technically it’s a fruit) that I have a love-hate relationship with.
My mother used to mash it with potato and I hated it so much I’d gag on it. ‘Oh Joanne,’ she’d say. ‘There’s no need for the dramatics.’ She still does it that way and I still gag on it. She also used to boil it. Yep, gag material as well. It’s really only at Christmas that she’d roast it- and apologise if it had little burnt bits around the edge. Coincidentally, that’s one way I do enjoy eating it: roasted with burnt caramelised bits.
I also dislike pumpkin soup- unless it’s my husbands’ version. He adds ginger and garlic and spices it up- plus he makes sure that it’s silky smooth. I can’t abide the lumps- it reminds me of boiled or mashed pumpkin and I’ll gag.
If that’s the hate part, what about the love? If it’s on the menu, I’ll choose a pumpkin and feta risotto any day. Like this one at Ventuno in Walsh Bay.
I also make a fabulous pumpkin macaroni cheese- if I do say so myself. The link to the recipe is here.
So I was a little concerned when my brother announced that he was doing a whole pumpkin in the camp oven on Friday night. Would it fall into the love category, or would I be gagging?
The verdict? If his Semur Daging (that’s Indonesian beef stew) wasn’t as spicily good as it was, I would have declared the pumpkin the dish of the weekend. It was, without a doubt, the most impressively theatrical dish.
Want the recipe? I’m glad you asked…
(As an aside, when I opened the notebook that I’d written this in, the smell of the fire came out from the pages…)
What you need…
- 1 large pumpkin
- ¾ cup cooked rice
- 3-4 cooked bacon rashers, chopped. You could also use some smoky chorizo for a little more paprika goodness. Fry it up and chop it up.
- 6 spring onions, chopped- or 1 whole normal onion- white or purple…whatever you have.
- 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
- a handful of chopped mixed herbs- whatever you have
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chicken stock
Don’t be too precious with ingredients or quantities. This is, as all great camp recipes should be, a great use of leftovers or pantry staples. Some chilli for kick is always a good idea…
What you do with it…
- Place pumpkin in a foil lined camp oven. Depending on your coals, the bottom can get really hot- so double foil it. Bake it over moderate coals until it’s tender. This will take about an hour- fires are not an exact science. The coals on the lid will help cook the pumpkin all the way through.
- While it’s cooking, mix all of your stuffing ingredients together. This really is multi-tasking at its best.
- Remove the pumpkin carefully from the oven and cut the top off it.
- Scoop the seeds out from the centre, taking care not to remove any of the sweet flesh.
- Spoon the rice mix into the pumpkin shell and return the pumpkin to the camp oven.
- Pour the chicken stock over and replace the pumpkin lid, and then the lid of the camp oven.
- Put it back on the coals (with some more on the lid) and cook for another 30-40 minutes until it’s beautifully tender.
- Serve on its own (for lunch) or as a side dish…