The carving of pumpkins, decorated with scary faces or images linked to Halloween (or StarWars pictures if your street is anything like ours!) and lit up with candles are synonymous with the Halloween season. This is something that has grown massively in recent years in the United Kingdom compared to what it used to be and now sees the majority of homes with one of these carved vegetables sat on their doorstep or in their window.
The practise of carving pumpkins originated in Ireland from an Irish folktale about ‘Stingy Jack’ and was originally carried out on large potatoes or turnips, only transferring to pumpkins when Irish immigrants took the tradition over to America.
Now seen in huge displays in UK supermarkets, recent figures suggest that 2 in every 5 Britons buy a pumpkin in October (with 3 children who have very different ideas of what can generously be described as pumpkin art so requiring a pumpkin each, I am definitely included in these statistics). In the USA, the common practise is to use the flesh to produce dishes such as pumpkin pie once the carving has been complete thus making full use of the entire vegetable. In the UK however, we are less likely to do this and therefore waste an astonishing 18,000 tonnes of potentially edible pumpkin flesh every year!
At IronFire, we believe in sustainability and making use of as much as we can – so after the carving of our pumpkins, we passed the flesh over to Kiran, the appointed IronFire chef, to do what she could with it….
1 small pumpkin (may only need half of the flesh)
1 small red onion
850mls vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
350g Arborio rice
Salt & pepper
Cut and deseed the pumpkin, drizzle with olive oil and roast in oven, 180 degC until soft and starting to brown. In saucepan fry onion until soft, add garlic, salt & pepper. Add rice and coat with juices in pan before adding 1/3 of stock, simmer and stir occasionally. As liquid reduces, gradually add balance of stock. When most of the liquid has been absorbed add chucks of pumpkin and finish cooking until the rice is soft and the liquid fully absorbed.
With the spare roasted pumpkin, why not try using it in soup?
In a large pan, fry an onion until soft, add a finely diced large carrot and cover with vegetable stock, simmer until carrot is soft. Add remainder of pumpkin and cover again with stock, when warmed through blend until smooth.
See the image below for our risotto serving recommendation for Halloween parties! (Could also be used for serving the soup but we take no responsibility for any mess it may cause)