Roast pumpkin and lentils

The decorative pumpkin we brought home from the CSA harvest festival suffered several hull breaches and had to be cut apart and salvaged. So, pumpkin for dinner tonight! I roasted it with a medieval spice mix bought at the SF/F convention I went to last weekend (black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, galangal, and long pepper*…maybe something else in there, too? It’s tasty.), plenty of (fair trade organic minimally-processed) sugar, lots of (local) butter, and some water in the bottom of the pan so that it steamed and went all melty. I kept it covered at 450 degrees until it fell apart. So tasty! But it was definitely a decorative pumpkin, not a sugar pumpkin as I’d hoped. It was kind of stringy and tasteless; thus the medieval “beat the food into submission with spices” treatment. I can see why the spices were recommended to me for use in heavy savory things…I wish we had an easy source of beef or lamb. This stuff wants to be rubbed into strong meat and then stewed and served with good bread and possibly mead. But it will also be excellent on root vegetables and in chocolate cookies. Black pepper is very, very good with chocolate.

To have some protein to go with the tasty squash, I cooked up some red lentils. I used a generous quantity of oil, a huge minced clove of garlic, salt, and an array of Indian curry spices. Cooked until mushy, it was very very yummy, and complimented the spices in the pumpkin quite well.

*long pepper are these longish, black, sort of pine-tip looking things that were used in medieval cooking. The spice merchant also had some whole long peppers, but I don’t have a spice mill. I may order some anyway and get a spice mill, because I assume that wonderful exotic peppery tone that I couldn’t identify as any of the other ingredients was long pepper. Long pepper is like black pepper but better! Wikipedia says that it used to be used all over European cooking before trade with the New World, and was confusingly referred to by the same name as black pepper, perplexing historians.

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