It is the season, so naturally, we have to feature a pumpkin recipe! This is perfect for dinner parties, particularly if you’re entertaining vegetarians and vegans.

Ingredients:

1 large pumpkin or other squash if you can’t find a pumpkin
4tbsp of olive oil
100g rice
1 large fennel bulb
1 apple
1 lemon
1tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves
30g pecans (this are optional if you have guests with nut allergies)
1 large pack of parsley
3 tbsp tahini pomegranate seeds.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C. Start by preparing the pumpkin, cut off the top and using a metal spoon, scoop out the seeds. You can keep the seeds for use in other recipes if you like, but you won’t need them here. Put the pumpkin on a baking tray and rub with it with 2tbsps worth of oil both inside and out. Place it in the centre of the oven and roast for around 45 minutes.

While the pumpkin is cooking, rinse the rice and cook following the instructions on the packet. Slice the fennel bulb and apple into thin slices and squeeze over half the lemon juice – this will stop them from browning.

Grab a frying pan and pour in your remaining oil. Fry the fennel seeds and chilli flakes for a few minutes until they start to pop, then crush and add in half the garlic and the fennel and cook for a further five minutes.

Mix in the apple, pecans (remember the nuts are optional!) and the lemon zest and remove from the heat. Add these ingredients to the cooked rice and stir in the chopped parsley.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven and pack the mix into it, pop it back into the oven for 15 minutes until everything is piping hot. While this is cooking through, mix the remaining lemon juice with the tahini, the rest of the garlic and a little water to make a dressing.

Serve in the centre of the table so guests can help themselves and have the dressing and pomegranate seeds as a garnish.

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