Embrace Pumpkin and Squash Season With These Recipes – The Beijinger

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It’s officially autumn in Beijing, which means that it’s also pumpkin and squash season. I’ve always thought that pumpkin and squash are underrated vegetables and have fond memories growing up of the pumpkin soup my family used to make from our jack o’lantern once Halloween was over. 

Here in China, there are quite a few different kinds of pumpkin and squash available, but the recipes below should be suitable for whichever kind you choose.   

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 kg pumpkin or squash peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • Salt and pepper 

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions for five minutes until soft, add the garlic and cook for a further minute. 
  2. Add the pumpkin or squash to the pan and continue cooking for around ten minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick, until the pumpkin or squash starts to soften and turn golden.
  3. Pour the stock into the pan and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft.
  4. Pour the double cream into the pan, bring back to a boil, then purée with a hand blender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to your preferred taste.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g pumpkin or squash, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 50-100ml whole milk
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • Salt and pepper
  • 350g pasta of your choice
  • 40g grated parmesan or other hard cheese

Method 

  1. Cook the pumpkin in a pan of boiling salted water for 10-15 mins until tender (they should be soft enough to be poked with a knife.)
  2. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large, frying pan over a low-medium heat and fry the onion for ten to fifteen minutes until soft and translucent. 
  3. Add the garlic and fry for one more minute, then remove from the heat.
  4. Drain the pumpkin or squash and tip into a blender and blitz with 50ml milk and the onions and garlic until completely smooth, you want the mixture to be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and can add more milk if needed. 
  5. Tip the sauce back into the large frying pan and add the tomato purée and mascarpone, then bring to a simmer over a low heat, season with salt and pepper to your preferred taste.
  6. Cook the pasta per the instructions on the pack then drain, keeping a cupful of the cooking water. 
  7. Toss the pasta with the pumpkin sauce, parmesan and reserved water, then season to your preferred taste and scatter with extra parmesan to serve.  

Pumpkin Curry with Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 large stalks lemongrass, bashed with the back of a knife
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1kg pumpkin or squash peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • Large handful mint leaves

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the onions, fry for two minutes then add the , the curry paste, lemongrass, cardamom, mustard seeds and garlic and fry for a further two to three minutes until fragrant. 
  2. Add the pumpkin or squash into the pan and stir until coated in the paste.
  3. Pour in the stock and coconut milk. 
  4. Bring everything to a simmer, add the chickpeas, then cook for about ten minutes until the pumpkin is tender.
  5. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the curry, season with salt and pepper to your preferred taste, then just before serving, tear over the mint leaves.

READ: Chinese Cookbook: Sticky Chicken Wings, and Spinach and Peanut Salad

Images: Unsplash Melanie Hughes, Hanna Balan, Kerde Severin, Katie Coy

Source: https://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2022/10/17/embrace-pumpkin-and-squash-season-these-recipes