Sunday Dinner Side Dish Idea
Now that I am beginning to see pumpkins in the markets I know autumn wonders are just around the corner. A little too early for me to make something like, I dunno, pumpkin pie but seeing those nice, round orange baking pumpkins just makes me want to cook them up. This recipe is very flavorful in garlic but because it is cooked for a long time, it will not disturb your palate nor your friends. This is a great complement to any meat that enjoys the companion of garlic, especially lamb. Enjoy!
Gratin of Pumpkin & Garlic
about 8 servings
6 or 7 large cloves of garlic, coarsely minced
6 tablespoons butter (plus additional for the pan)
1/2 scant teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 scant teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
about a 3 1/2 pound pie pumpkin (or any winter squash is equally good)
2 cups coarse white bread crumbs (Panko is okay)
1 oz raw pumpkin seeds (Pepitas) –about 1/4 cup
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a large gratin pan (12 inches long) or shallow baking pan (8x12 inch) generously with butter.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add the garlic and let it bubble for a minute. Do not brown the garlic. Stir in the cumin, clove and salt. Remove to a warm place.
Halve the pumpkin from end to end. Scoop out the seeds and the any core material. Place cut side down and remove a little from both ends (the blossom and stem ends). Cut into 1/3 inch sections and remove the peel with a sharp paring knife. Dip each piece into the melted butter trying to pick up any garlic bits. Arrange the pumpkin in the pan cutting as needed to fill any gaps. You should have two layers of pumpkin. Pour remaining butter and garlic over the slices.
Cover with foil and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the pumpkin is almost cooked and tender enough to pierce easily with a knife but not soft enough to mash.
Top the pumpkin with the breadcrumbs covering the top completely. Press gently to even out and sprinkle the seeds on top.
Increase oven to 400 degrees F. and bake on a rack in the upper third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crumbs are nicely brown and seeds are richly toasted. Serve very hot.