Rory O’Connell

Roast Pumpkin and Brussels sprouts with Pumpkin Seed Praline, Pomegranate Molasses and Crème Fraiche

I serve this dish at room temperature either as a standalone lunch or supper dish or as an accompaniment to roast lamb or pork. The rich flavour of the pumpkin is great with the lightly roasted sprouts and the crunchy praline and final drizzles of pomegranate and crème fraiche really elevate the dish. I prefer a slowly roasted lamb or pork to serve here as the rather unctuous texture of meat cooked in that way suits the vegetables and seasonings perfectly.

Serves 8 as a starter or an accompaniment to roast meat or 4 as a main dish

  • 750g pumpkin or squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250g Brussels sprouts
  • 15g sugar
  • 25g pumpkin seeds
  • 200gr crème fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200c

To make the praline, line a small tray with parchment paper. Place the sugar and seeds in a very small saucepan and cook over a moderate heat. Allow the sugar to caramelise to a chestnut colour and do not be afraid to stir the caramel and seeds if it seems to be cooking unevenly. As soon as the rich caramel is achieved, remove from the saucepan to the parchment paper. Allow to cool completely to become crisp.

Place the pumpkin on a chopping board and carefully cut it in half. The skin of some pumpkins and squashes can be quite slippery so you may need to exert force to cut it open, hence always have your knife pointing away from you so that if it slips, it will hit the chopping board and not you. Remove the seeds and carefully peel off the skin with a knife. Cut the prepared pumpkin into 8 wedges and place in a bowl. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined tray leaving a little space between the pieces. I usually sit them upright like little boats on the paper though I don’t think this is crucial. Reserve the oily bowl for later. Roast for 30 minutes.

While the pumpkin is roasting, peel any unsightly outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts and cut each one into 6 thin pieces straight down through the vegetable rather than crossways. Put these into the oily pumpkin bowl and season. Scatter them over the pumpkin after 30 minutes of cooking and cook for a further 10 minutes. The cooking time of pumpkins varies somewhat, so do test the flesh for tenderness by inserting a skewer – there should be no tough resistance from the cooked pumpkin. The sprouts will have begun to tenderize but will not be soft. Remove from the oven.

Mix the crème fraiche with 1 teaspoon of honey.

To serve the dish, place the pumpkin wedges and Brussels sprouts on a warm wide flat platter or divide between individual warm plates. Place a generous dollop of crème fraiche on each wedge and retain the remaining crème for serving separately. Drizzle pomegranate molasses over and finally break the seed praline over each serving.  Serve as soon as possible.