The origins of this recipe lie in stupidity. Last year, I grew pumpkins for the first time, a huge French variety called Rouge Vif d’Etampes. I also sowed green and yellow courgettes but, being highly disorganised, I got all my plants mixed up. Strange, round yellow balls began to grow which didn’t look at all like orange pumpkins or yellow courgettes. We picked them and they were delicious anyway, so I just assumed there had been a mix up with the seed suppliers and they had sent me summer squash instead.
It was only when I returned from a two-week holiday and found that the yellow balls had turned into orange giants that I realised we had been prematurely eating pumpkin infants. Ironically, it could well have been this judicious pruning that enabled the remaining pumpkins to grow so huge and so this year I have continued to eat several babies. And very tasty they are too, sliced, griddled and dressed in herbs, oil and vinegar.
However, when Pong Cheese sent me some Goddess recently, which I reviewed here, I thought I would try something a bit different and stuff the baby pumpkins. If you don’t have pumpkins, squash, marrows or monster courgettes would I’m sure work just as well.
Ingredients (serves two as a light meal, or as an accompaniment)
2 baby pumpkins
80g brown rice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium courgette (or two small), finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. pine nuts, lightly toasted
Half a tablespoon of honey
80g Goddess cheese, roughly chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 200c/180 fan-assisted/Gas Mark 6. Take the ‘lids’ off the pumpkins with a sharp knife, much as you would to make a Halloween lantern. Hollow out the insides, saving any decent chunks of flesh. Keep the lids.
Bake the pumpkins and lids in the hot oven for about half an hour, turning them over half way through. Whilst they are baking, cook the brown rice as per the instructions on the packet and, in a frying pan, cook the onion, courgette, left-over pumpkin and garlic until soft.
Mix in the brown rice, pine nuts, honey and Goddess and season. Remove the pumpkins from the oven and fill with the rice and vegetable mixture. Replace the lids and put them back into the hot oven for about 20 minutes. You can eat the pumpkins as well as the filling.