Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pumpkin Pangrattato with Merguez Sausage & Black Olives

Pumpkin Pangrattato with Merguez & Black Olives 3

At I Heart Cooking Clubs this week we begin a new culinary journey with British cook, Nigel Slater.  Nigel is determinedly not a chef, rather a self-confessed amateur cook, who prides himself on producing food which is understated, home-style cooking.  We will be spending the next six months cooking his food, according to a different theme each week - an opportunity to explore his food in depth, and get to know the vast repertoire of recipes he offers through his books, television programmes and online sources.

I have a few Nigel Slater books in my collection, which I've used a bit and always enjoyed, but I have to be honest and say that I haven't used them nearly as much as I would like to have, so I'm really welcoming this opportunity.

For this week's dish I turned to Nigel's book Tender (Vol. 1).  In this book he chronicles tales about his vegetable garden. He talks of his dreams of self sufficiency, and describes how he transformed a small city garden into something which now produces the vegetables that have become the mainstay of his daily cooking.  Each chapter is a different vegetable, and offers advice on planting and harvesting, companion flavours and seasonings, and a variety of recipes.

Not only are all the recipes very simple and "do-able" for the average home cook, they are beautifully photographed, and the book is beautifully written.  Nigel's style is very "conversational" - the kind of information he would give you if he was cooking alongside you in the kitchen, and this style extends to the titles of many of the recipes.  Who wouldn't want to try "A quick cabbage supper with duck legs", "A tart of asparagus and tarragon", "Smoky aubergines and a punchy, bright-tasting dressing", or "An extremely moist chocolate beetroot cake with creme fraiche and poppy seeds"?

Leafing through the pages, something from the pumpkin department seemed perfect for an autumn dish, and when I stumbled across Nigel's "Pumpkin pangrattato with rosemary and orange" I knew that I had found my dish.  Of course you know that I can't leave well enough alone, and when I saw pumpkin mash with sausages on the very next page, I was convinced that I somehow had to work sausages into this dish.  My initial thoughts were to use some chorizo, but having picked up some nice, spicy, merguez sausages from my favourite butcher, I thought these would be a great accompaniment to the pumpkin.  I omitted chilli from the recipe, since the merguez is already spicy enough, but of course if you want the added heat, knock yourself out, and of course if you happen to be vegetarian then leave out the sausage and throw in a small, chopped red chilli or sprinkling of chilli flakes for a bit of heat.  I threw a handful of black olives into the mix as well, because I love pumpkin and olives together, and I mixed some little chunks of taleggio cheese into the breadcrumb topping, because after all what's not to love about a crunchy, cheesy topping on anything?!

This turned out to be a great dish with which to welcome Nigel to the IHCC kitchen.  With the addition of the sausage and olives, it made a pretty substantial meal, with a truckload of flavour and texture going on - in my eyes, always the hallmark of a great recipe.  You'll find the spicy nuggets of sausage and briny olives a great foil to the tender, sweet butternut squash;  the crunchy breadcrumb topping is a perfect compliment to the softness of the pumpkin;  and every so often you get little added explosions of flavour from the rosemary and orange.

In all, this is one of the best things I think I've made recently, and I will definitely be making it again.  There's easily enough going on here for this to make a substantial meal on its own, but would also make a great side dish as part of a larger meal if you were feeding a crowd.  Admittedly, this is not quite a throw it together in 5 minutes kind of meal, but neither is it an arduous labour intensive meal either.

I often ponder the scenario of someone asking me, "if I was to only make one dish from your blog, what should I make?"  I have in my head a shortlist of dishes I would recommend, and this dish definitely makes it onto my list.  All I can say is, "if you keep this up, Nigel, you and I are going to get along famously".  I hope you give it a try.

Pumpkin Pangrattato with Merguez & Black Olives 4

Pumpkin Pangrattato with Merguez Sausage & Black Olives Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Nigel Slater
from Tender, Vol. 1
Makes 3 substantial servings, or 4 smaller servings
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

olive oil
4x merguez sausages
1x whole butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, & cut into large bite-sized chunks
generous handful black olives (I used kalamata)
3x cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
grated zest of half an orange
4 generous handfuls fresh white breadcrumbs
(for great texture & crunch, keep breadcrumbs quite coarse)
1 generous handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
50g (1-3/4 oz) taleggio cheese
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
butter

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Put pieces of butternut into a steamer set over boiling water, and steam until just tender to the point of a knife.  This may take up to 20 minutes, but start testing after 10 minutes, as you really don't want to overcook it at this stage.  Remove steamer from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, remove casing from sausages, and break into bite-sized pieces.

Merguez Sausages

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large, ovenproof frying pan (cast iron is ideal) over medium-high heat (see note below).  Add the chunks of sausage to the pan, and cook until golden brown all over.  Remove the sausage from the pan, and set aside.  Don't discard the fat which has been released from the sausages.   (Note:  if you don't have an ovenproof pan, don't worry, you can use a baking dish later on.)

Return the pan to heat, and reduce the heat to medium.  Depending on how much fat has come out of the sausages, you may need to add a little extra olive oil to the pan - you want about 4-5 tablespoons altogether.  Add the garlic, rosemary and orange zest to the pan.  As soon as the garlic becomes fragrant, add the breadcrumbs and parsley to the pan, and stir until the breadcrumbs are a pale golden colour.  Remove breadcrumbs to a medium sized bowl, but don't clean the pan.  Break cheese into small pieces, add to the breadcrumbs, and toss gently to distribute evenly amongst the crumbs.

Return sausages, butternut chunks and black olives to the pan (or use a shallow baking dish), distributing them evenly.  Season generously with salt and pepper, and dot little knobs of butter over the top.

Pumpkin Pangrattato with Merguez & Black Olives 1

Tip the breadcrumbs over the top of the pumpkin and sausage in an even layer, and drizzle with a little extra olive oil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the crumbs are golden and crunchy and the pumpkin is thoroughly tender.

Pumpkin Pangrattato with Merguez & Black Olives 2

If you would like to get to know Nigel Slater a little better, and to see what everyone else has cooked up this week, then do and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links ...


... or check out Tender, Vol. 1 and Nigel's many other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, or Fishpond NZ.

I'll also be sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the delightful Michelle at Ms. enPlace, at Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads, at Foodie Fridays hosted by Designs by Gollum, and at Cook Your Books hosted by the lovely Joyce at Kitchen Flavours.

See Ya in The Gumbo Badge           Weekend Cooking Badge           Foodie Friday Badge           Cook Your Books Badge

45 comments:

  1. This looks like a fantastic dish! I am definitely going to try it.

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  2. This is going to be a great 6 months! Can't wait to see everything you cook. I love pumpkin, so I'm earmarking this for the fall.

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    1. Thanks, Beth - I'm looking forward to the next six months with Nigel too. I find him very inspiring, so I'm pretty excited about the journey ahead.

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  3. This dish looks wonderful - bookmarked for fall for sure. It does look as though it will be great fun cooking with Nigel over the next several months.

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    1. Thanks, Zosia. I agree with you - everyone made so many great dishes this week, I'm sure Nigel is going to do us proud :-)

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  4. Pumpkin sounds still like autumn and winter ;-), although it looks great. I never cooked any dish of tender volume 1. I look for some spring recipes for the next weeks.

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    1. I'm very jealous that you are now enjoying spring, Ulrike, while we have the cold days of winter ahead of us. I hope you find some dishes to enjoy from Tender I - it's a wonderful book.

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  5. Sounds delicious! I'm reading before breakfast and would love to have a big plateful of this right now!

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    1. Thanks, Laurie, that's very kind. Not sure that I could eat this for breakfast, but it would certainly make a great dish for lunch.

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  6. Hi Sue,
    I love everything about this dish. It has all my favourite ingredients!
    Looks really delicious!
    I have cooked a few of Nigel's recipes so far, and have liked them all. It is going to be a delicious 6 months!

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    1. Thanks, Joyce - I think you'd really enjoy this dish. I'm so thrilled that you are really enjoying Nigel's dishes so far - you're right ... it's going to be a great 6 months.

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  7. I think I would really love this book.
    Reading your post, I was already on board with the recipe. But for it to make your "shortlist," well that certainly makes me sit up straight and pay attention! Seems like a good dish for Thanksgiving. Something about it reminds me of stuffing.

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    1. Yes, Michelle, I think you would enjoy this book - especially the spinach chapter!!

      There's actually a dish called "Squeaking Spinach, Sizzling Bacon", which I plan to make sometime in the next few months just for you :-)

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    2. I feeled honored! Spinach and bacon just for me.
      Thank you for stopping by and linking.

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    1. Thanks, Angie - yes, definitely all of that :-)

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  9. This IS a stellar dish! I was actually looking at Nigel's alternative bangers and mash recipe - made with sausages and carrots instead of potatoes ... this dish is reminding me a bit of that take! Very interesting additions to your dish! And definitely a main course for me ... a little side of greens and I will be a happy girl!

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    1. Thanks, Susan. It definitely makes a great main course, and greens or no greens, a glass of shiraz went with it pretty well too!

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  10. This is a gorgeous dish Sue--it looks so satisfying and so full of flavor. What a perfect way to welcome Nigel to IHCC. I have only made one recipe so far from Tender but it is a beautiful book and I look forward to cooking more from it over the next few months. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Deb. I know you'll find plenty of dishes that you'll love in Tender - I'm certainly looking forward to using it a lot more.

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  11. This looks delicious. I love butternut squash.

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    1. Thank you so much. Think butternut is my favourite pumpkin/squash.

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  12. I've never paired squash with olives before, but it seems like a natural fit. I'll have to try this recipe out - it's beautiful, by the way!

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    1. Thanks, Cecelia - I hope you enjoy it. I often put squash and olives together in risottos and pasta dishes, and I love them together.

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  13. Sue - I love how you add your own personal touch to all of the recipes. I think you really have a knack for pairing ingredients together. You and Nigel are off to a fantastic start!!

    I've never had merguez sausage before, but have seen it in several cookbooks. It certainly looks spicy and delicious. I bet a little of it really goes a long way in flavoring the dish. Gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you, Kim - that is so kind. Actually I know you would love merguez sausages if you can ever get your hands on some, but any good spicy sausage would still be great in this dish.

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  14. Pictures look absolutely fabulous! Everything looks extremely nice, professional.Nice recipe I think art of cooking is not something everyone has the equal grip over. Personal Chefs conduct an in depth assessment of each clients’ food preferences not only from a standpoint of what and how they like to eat

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  15. Wow … this looks absolutely delicious!

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  16. We're off to a good start with Nigel's recipes. Love how you prepared this. That's a new sausage name to me,. We have some fine smoked sausage that is from a local farm. Bet it would be great.

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    1. I agree, Tina, we're off to a great start with Nigel - so many great dishes everyone put up this week. Merguez sausages are absolutely delicious, if you can ever find them - they are usually long and thin, traditionally made with lamb, and very spicy. Some local smoked sausage sounds delicious too. Chorizo would also be good.

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    2. Just today we were at Whole Foods and they had Merguez sausage! We bought some and plan to grill it tomorrow evening. I'm excited !

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  17. This dish has my name all over it! I like everything about it from the list of ingredients to using only one pan - I'm lazy and a rather picky eater ;)

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    1. I can certainly relate to being a lazy cook, and if I can ever get away with cooking a dish in one pan I will certainly run with that option :-)

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  18. i haven't ever made anything from Nigel, but I think I'd like his style of cooking. This pangrattato sounds delicious...full of so many great and varied flavors!

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    1. Oh, Joanne, you definitely need to try a few Nigel Slater dishes - I know you would really like his style.

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  19. I am pretty sure Sue you're not going to be disappointed with Nigel. I've been reading his books for years now and am totally in love with his new little book on fast food. Enjoy!

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    1. Julie, I'm really enjoying this journey with Nigel so far. Apart from his food, I totally love his writing, and I've been eyeing up that new book - I think I might have to invest :-)

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  20. That is most definitely comfort food! Just got the Kitchen Diaries instead of Easter eggs & excited to cook from it :)

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    1. Ooooh, Mairi, what a great treat - Kitchen Diaries instead of Easter eggs, lucky you :-)

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