Pumpkin is still an underestimated vegetable; too bad - and let's try to change that.
Today we will focus on winter pumpkins, such as butternut squash. You could use it to:
- Make a winter soup
- Make pumpkin pie
- Vegetable side dish (or even a main).
To peel or not to peel
That is indeed the question. When using the oven method described below, don't peel.
Cut the pumpkin in half length-wise. Remove (but save) the seeds. Roasted, they are a great addition to a salad.
Cut the two halves in pieces. If you plan to serve a pumpkin steak, make sure slices are no thicker than 2 centimeters (0.8 of an inch).
Put the pumpkin pieces into a baking tray. Sprinkle salt and some freshly ground pepper. Cut a whole garlic in half (see picture) and add to the mix. Add a good number of sage leaves. They will increase the meaty taste of the pumpkin. Now cover with an abundant sprinkle of olive oil and rub into the vegetable, so each part is covered on all sides.
Put into a preheated oven (it is a balance between temperature and time; I prefer a lower temperature for a longer time. For instance, 140° Celsius or 280° Fahrenheit for an hour or so). Check every fifteen minutes and stir the mixture if needed.
You will notice that the skin of the pumpkin has become soft and can be eaten (or easily peeled, if you prefer).
The outcome will be sweet; serve as a side vegetable or even as a main course.
Want to make a soup: simply blend the whole mixture with a little bit of milk (soy or wheat milk if going for vegan). To make your soup a little more interesting, add some chili according to what you - and more importantly, your guests - can handle.
As many vegetables, the water content is high (80% or over). The sweetness, you guessed already, comes from the natural sugars in the pumpkin (10 - 15%). And pumpkin is a good source of vitamins.