Friday, 28 August 2009

Pumpkin,Walnut, (among other cosas ricas) Gratin

They say here in the mountains that you can fell a change in the weather after the fiesta major (the big yearly village fiesta)and I can feel it coming and even though theres a pang of clinging to the love of hot summer days ...I like Autumn.I like golden leaves,pumpkins,the promise of vast amounts of wild mushrooms or at least the anticipation,fires,chestnuts and supreme comfort foods like this recipe...theres a earthly gorgousness of walnuts ,chard combined with the sweet spicey pumpkin and crispy potatoes on top...Its my welcome recipe for autumn.

The quantities of ingredients depend on the size of oven dish...try even amounts of chard and pumpkin mixture...

About 6 shallots (or 3 sweet onions).
Chard leaves (a decent amount).
One garlic clove.
Roasted pumpkin.
Boiled potatoes.
Coconut milk.
Powdered ginger.
Powdered nutmeg.
Curry powder.
Olive oil.
Salt and pepper.

Start off with a few shallots cut into quarters and saute until soft.
Next some chard...always treat it like two vegetables the crunchy stalk and soft spinach like leaves....cut the stalks length ways then into small dices and boil in just enough water to cover them until they soften slightly(honor the crunch folks),drain and use the same saucepan for the leaves...roll up them up together as tightly as possible and slice finely .Put a drop of oil with some garlic and fry until almost golden(do not burn,I,m against burnt garlic)then add the chopped leaves,salt and just a slash of water(use the chard cooking the rest for stock) and wilt until wilted.
The pumpkin I removed from the freezer-god or goddess bless you freezer!
It(the pumpkin)was roasted in the oven until soft really intensifies the flavour.
I prefer not puting any salt and let the natural flavour shine until I know if I,m going to use it for a sweet or savouring plate.
In a saucepan heat a teaspoon of curry powder,a pinch of nutmeg and a half teaspoon of dried ginger(I,m sure fresh would be better or different at least but heh there was nowt to be found in my pueblo),then add the soft roasted pumpkin with a dessertspoon of marigold bouillon powder(absolutely not nessesary if you have a beautifully sweet flavourful pumpkin ,mine was not and to be honest the poor crater(Irish for divil or scamp or soul) was a bit dull tasting,so a bit of organic dried stock powder was called for)
Mash well together with a splash of coconut milk,salt and pepper and a nob of butter if it takes your fancy.
Toast a handfull of walnuts and place in an oiled ovenproof glass dish .
Place shallots and chard on top.
Next the spiced pumpkin purree.
Lastly decorate the top with sliced cooked potatoes brushed with olive oil.
Bake in the oven about 180 or 200 degrees until goldenbrown on top and bubbling slightly in the layers below.
A word or two on the photo ..It was taken the next day.Day light is always the best .It doesnt show exact layers of vegetables because it was deplated various times and does not do justice to my gratin.But please try it as I,m very happy with this one people.