Autumn is always an exciting time when it comes to food, with the harvest of so much fruit and veg that is actually in season, and the arrival of a few items we only see at this time of year. One of those, of course, is the pumpkin. Pumpkins hit our stores in October but don’t tend to stick around much after Halloween, so we do need to take full advantage of their short availability. If stored in a cool, dry place, the pumpkins you buy in October can last you a couple of months, so it is worth getting a couple extra if you want to eat pumpkin beyond the season. You can also chop them up, cook them and freeze them and be enjoying pumpkin pies and muffins for as long as you desire.
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These Roasted Pumpkin Bowls with Mushroom and Chestnut Stroganoff require a fresh, whole pumpkin, so you’ll want to make this in October or November. Getting the right size pumpkin is quite important, so that the bowl isn’t too big or too small. I chose them slightly on the smaller side of medium, so that the pumpkin’s diameter was about 6-7 inches (slightly larger than a soup bowl). This allowed me to get a good serving out of each half pumpkin and this recipe serves 4 at this size.
The pumpkin halves take about 3 hours to roast, so you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to have these ready for an evening meal, but they will impress the hell out of your dinner guests!
Although it looks fancy, this is a very easy dish to make. The stroganoff itself takes about 30 minutes to prepare and the rice is the pre-cooked packet kind you just heat in the microwave (you can, of course, serve your own home-cooked rice if you prefer). You can cook the stroganoff during the last half hour of the roasting time, or you can cook it in advance and reheat it in time to serve. If you’re cooking it in advance, add a splash of vegan milk before reheating to thin it out a little.
The chestnuts in this recipe are pre-cooked and available in supermarkets all year round. I know both Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s sell them from a brand called Merchant and they make a perfect seasonal addition to the stroganoff. The recipe is entirely gluten-free, just make sure that the vegan Worcestershire sauce you use is gluten free (the Biona one is).
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Roasted Pumpkin Bowls with Mushroom and Chestnut Stroganoff
For the Roasted Pumpkins:
- 2 fresh pumpkins about 6-7 inches in diameter
- 5-6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Salt and black pepper
For the Stroganoff:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 25 g vegan butter
- 1 large onion sliced
- 250 g chestnut mushrooms cut into chunks
- 1 pack 180g pre-cooked chestnuts, halved
- 3 large cloves garlic chopped
- 1 vegetable stock cube make sure it’s vegan and gluten-free
- 2 tsp English mustard
- 4 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce make sure it’s gluten-free
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp regular paprika
- 400 ml vegan cream
- 3 heaped tbsp vegan crème fraiche you can also use vegan yoghurt
- A splash of vegan milk about 50ml
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- A handful of fresh parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 packets of pre-cooked wild and basmati rice
- A handful of parsley leaves
- Heat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F.
- Cut a thin amount off the stalk and root of each pumpkin, to create a flat base for each bowl. Now cut the 2 pumpkins in half widthways. Remove and discard the seeds from each, lay them face up on 2 baking trays and drizzle over the olive oil. Rub the oil all over each pumpkin half. Season each one with the paprika, cinnamon and salt and pepper, then place both trays in the oven for about 3 hours, until the pumpkin flesh is cooked and tender. You will need to swap the trays over a couple of times during this time to ensure even cooking.
- During the last half hour of roasting you can make the stroganoff. Heat the oil and vegan butter in a large saucepan or wok, then cook the onion and mushrooms together for about 10-12 minutes on a medium-high heat, until they have started to brown.
- Add the chestnuts and cook for another 5 minutes or so, then put in the garlic and give it 2-3 more minutes, until the garlic flavours come out.
- Now you can start to build up the sauce. Crumble in the veg stock cube and spoon in the mustard, then stir through and cook for a minute. Now add the Worcestershire sauce and the paprikas and give it another minute or two, until you have a really aromatic base.
- Pour in the cream, the yoghurt and the milk, then add the nutritional yeast and the parsley. Bring to a gently simmer, stirring constantly, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, until you have a thick sauce. Season with the salt and pepper if desired.
- Brink out the cooked pumpkin bowls and lay them onto plates. Heat the 2 packets of rice in the microwave according to the packet instructions, then divide the rice between the 4 pumpkin bowls. Spoon in the stroganoff, then top with a little parsley and serve immediately.
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