Big, sad, heavy things have been happening in the world this week. Big, sad, heavy things that drive home the fact that we need to cherish those around us and be grateful for everyday, whatever its slight annoyances. I think my instinct when I see the headlines is to turn inside, to pull those I love closer to me and check that they are okay, really okay. I want to gather my loved ones in and spoon some comfort into their souls, to make the chilly winter days a little warmer, and to lock away the bad news and feelings that can overwhelm us. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones so unexpectedly and tragically.
When I go looking for comfort in my kitchen the first recipes I turn to are those that my Mum makes. The best things that come out of her kitchen are the rib-sticking, belly-filling cold weather dishes: osso bucco; beef stroganoff; bouffe (a traditional Danish dish of meat and gravy); roasts; and pumpkin soup. When your bowl has been scraped clean and the last crumbs of bread or homemade scones litter the tablecloth a euphoric glow spreads from your fully tummy and reassures you that though dark clouds gather and bad things happen, there is love to be found.
I was in need of a little comfort this week. A pumpkin stared at me from our kitchen table and the thought of Mum’s soup drifted through my mind. However, not being in possession of an immersion blender nor the patience to wait for the soup to cool down so that I could use the normal blender, I sought to embody the comfort of Mum’s soup in solid form. This was a good idea. Meet the Savoury Pumpkin Crumble. It’s a good thing.
I chose a small Japanese Pumpkin for my savoury crumble. With it’s green and yellow mottled skin it was a beautiful autumnal decoration on our kitchen table for a week before I sliced most of it up, roasted it to coax out the natural sugars and reduce the flesh to buttery soft pieces. The pumpkin was joined by some sweated onions and garlic and then the whole baking dish was showered with thick chunks of herb and oat laced crumble. You could use a butternut pumpkin (squash) instead if you’d like, or any other sweet, firm fleshed pumpkin. My crumble is thicker, more scone like than a traditional sweet crumble, and I wanted bigger pieces to evoke the dumplings my Mum floats on top of her beef casserole sometimes. The crumble is also gluten free, if you do not require the dish to be gluten free you can replace the three flours with 95 grams of plain flour instead. A late addition to my leftovers was a decent amount of grated aged cheddar. Take my advice: do it.
Savoury Pumpkin Crumble
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side | Gluten Free | Vegetarian
- 750 gram (approximately) piece of pumpkin
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 30 grams white rice flour
- 30 grams brown rice flour
- 35 grams buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 20 grams butter
- 1/4 cup gluten free quick oats
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4-1/3 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Place butter in freezer.
- Peel pumpkin and chop into chunks approximately 2.5cm (1 inch) cubed. Place on prepared baking tray and bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until softened all the way through.
- While pumpkin is cooking chop onion into thick slices and finely dice garlic.
- Heat olive oil in a small frying pan and cook onion and garlic until onion becomes translucent.
- Place roasted pumpkin and cooked onion mixture into an 8-inch round ovenproof dish. Mix everything gently so that the onions are distributed through the pumpkin chunks.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together white rice flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder and salt.
- Remove butter from freezer and grate over the flour mixture. Use a fork to mix through gently. Gently mix in dried herbs.
- Add 1/4 cup of milk and stir until the dough starts to come together. If the mixture appears too dry and there is a large amount of dry crumbs in the bottom of the bowl then stir in the additional milk.
- Break the dough into variously-sized chunks and drop over the roasted vegetable mixture.
- Place dish into oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is golden on top.
- Remove, spoon into bowls and devour with your loved ones.