May 19, 2011

Orange flavoured roasted pumpkin with lentils

Simple roasted pumpkin flavoured with good olive oil, coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and fresh rosemary is one of the best dishes I can think of. I think pumpkins look beautiful as they are and back in Finland I used to decorate my window sills and dinner tables with the mini pumpkins I was able to get there. Pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient too - just think of all the soups, casseroles, vegetable roasts, cakes or cookies you can make. The list is endless.

I was inspired to come up with yet another pumpkin recipe after seeing all the gorgeous pumpkins in a private garden the other week. I was amazed how big they can grow, how they have a different shape depending on whether they've been grown flat in the ground or hanging from a fence and how beautiful they looked being just harvested in their natural environment.

I have a theory that ingredients that are in season at the same time go naturally pretty well together. This may of course not apply to absolutely everything, but you're pretty safe combining fresh, seasonal ingredients for a tasty meal. Thus, I was not hesitant to use orange peel and juice to flavour the roasted pumpkin and served with a simple lentil salad this combination makes for the most satisfactory autumn dish.  

Orange flavoured roasted pumpkin with lentils
(serves 2-4)

1/4 Kabocha/Japanese pumpkin, cut into wedges
zest of one orange, peeled whole or finely grated
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1-2 tablespoons good olive oil
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1 cup French style lentils, rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, diced
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
juice of 1/2 orange
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt

baby spinach, for serving
goat cheese, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Place the pumpkin wedges on the baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the fresh rosemary and arrange the orange peel on the wedges. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until just tender. Set aside.

3. In the meanwhile, place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender.

4. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan or a frying pan. Sauté the red onion and celery for a few minutes, season with a pinch of salt and fresh thyme.

5. Combine the red onion and the celery with the lentils and season with orange juice and apple cider vinegar.

6. Serve the pumpkin with the lentils, baby spinach and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with more orange juice if preferred.