Nigel Slaters baked pumpkin and spiced chickpeas recipe

Slices of buttery squash and crunchy chickpeas in a flavourful creamy sauce. By Nigel Slater

The recipe

Set the oven at 200 C/ gas mark 6. Slice 750 g of pumpkin, or other autumn squash, into thick segments, then rub away any seeds and fibres. Place the slicings on a baking tray, percolates softly with groundnut petroleum and dot generously with butter. Season with black pepper and salt then cook for a good 45 minutes or so, until the flesh is deep gold.

While the pumpkin cooks, whizz the following in a food processor: 2 sticks of lemongrass, cut into short pieces, 1 medium-sized green chilli of moderate heat, 30 g of coriander foliages and stems, the grated zest of 1 lime, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp of salt, a small glob of ginger and 80 g of coconut cream. Pour in enough groundnut petroleum to make a soft paste.

Rinse a 400 g can of chickpeas under operating water. Tip them into a small saucepan then add the spice paste( you may not need all of it) and warm gently over a moderate hot. When the chickpeas are hot, fold a handful of torn coriander leaves through it, divide between two plates and serve with the slicings of roasted pumpkin. Enough for 2.

The trick

The length of time a slice of squash or pumpkin takes to cook depends on the variety. Some, such as the firm fleshed Crown Prince, take longer than the softer textured ranges. Roast them for a good half hour to 45 minutes, basting occasionally with a little butter or oil until they are tender and translucent. They will hold in good condition while you warm the chickpeas and spice paste.

The twist

Use rice, quinoa or other assortments of bean instead of the chickpeas. Introduce a little coconut milk into the spice paste so it becomes more of a sauce. Spoon it over the pumpkin as you serve.

Email Nigel at nigel.slater @observer. co.uk or follow him on Twitter @NigelSlater

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