Saturday, October 15, 2011

Roasted pumkin, slow poached prunes, vanilla, banyuls, crisp sage


Fall (Autumn) is synonymous to pumpkins a quintessential delight.

(Picture Courtesy: Caroline Lynch, Cara Hill Larimer, Doug Goettsch)

Working with seasonal ingredients is heart warming. This simple and flavorful recipe will be a great add to your table.

Pumpkin- It is a Vegetable fruit of Mediterranean origin. It is always eaten ripe when it is red in color.

Prunes-The French word for dried plums. It has a intense black color with a easily detached stone. Prunes d' Agen, named after a village in south- west of France is quite popular for its prunes. They lend themselves easily to long cooking and also use in marmalade and sweet meats.

Vanilla - A pod from the vanilla plant, is a spice indigenous to the new world. Vanilla was first used by the Aztecs. It grows well in equatorial and tropical areas parts of Mexico, Madagascar,Comoros and Reunion Islands produce 80% of the worlds Vanilla. Recently India and Indonesia have also started producing Vanilla.

Vanilla pods are pollinated by humming birds and bees, manual pollination is also done in many countries. They are harvested before ripening and plunged into 70C (160F) steam before being allowed to ferment. They are then dried, The supple oxidized pods are packed in bundles and have a long shelf life.

The concentrated frosted sugars that seep out of the pod like dew drops are Vanillin which are highly esteemed.

Banyuls Vinegar - An aged French vinegar prized for its aroma like walnut, vanilla and plums. The Vinegar adds the punch to the pumpkin.

Ingredients

2 kilos pumpkin - peeled and sectioned

6 sprigs thyme

2 teaspoons sea salt

10 gallons pepper -- freshly crushed

50 milliliters olive oil

3 tablespoons Banyuls vinegar or red wine vinegar

Slow poached prunes

100 gm prunes

80 gm sugar

250 milliliters water

1 pod vanilla bean

6 leaves sage

Method

Cut the pumpkin in half remove the seeds and inner layer using a spoon and keep it aside.

Cut the pumpkins into wedges skin on. Season with sea salt and crushed pepper, chopped thyme, drizzle olive oil and marinate for 20-30 minutes.

Place it on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper.

Bake it for 20-30 minutes in a 180C pre heated oven. To check doneness pass a butter knife and it should go in smooth.

Drizzle Banyuls vinegar when the pumpkins are warm and allow it to rest for a few minutes and serve along with poached prunes.

Slow poached

Dissolve the sugar into the water and boil it gently to make a syrup.

split vanilla pod and add it to the syrup along with the prunes,simmer for 50mts to an hour.

Cool and toss along with the pumpkins and serve drizzled with olive oil and crisp fried sage .

Serving Ideas

Great to be served warm as a side or cold as a salad.

Chopped up goes well as a filling for rye bread and cream cheese spread sandwich.


Pairs well along with a glass of Chilean Merlot (Bouquet of spice)


Happy Halloween!

Wishing you all a joyous festive season!!

Happy Cooking...