Pumpkin and lamb curry served in a pumpkin bowl. Pumpkins make great bowls.

They just take a lot of wrist work to empty. Sharpen your knives and dig in. Carefully.

In the same way as small children like to grab shiny round things that come in bright colours, I too cannot resist pumpkins. They’re just so satisfying to look at. This is pumpkin month, Halloween approaches and although it’s a rather discreet and misunderstood holiday in this neck of the woods, it doesn’t mean that we can’t think of dinnering ideas that involve these masses of autumn bounty. They’re all over the morning markets but you have to seize them quickly, the ones that can be carved into mysterious and terrifying objects go fast not to mention the ones that were obviously destined to provide crockery to people who might need some in which to serve that nights dinner…… Lamb and pumpkin curry – served in its own pumpkin bowl seemed like the perfect Sunday night supper. The recipe is simple and can be either veggie or not. Makes not a lot of difference. Well, unless you’re the lamb in question or a vegetarian. Then it does indeed make quite a bit of difference. Add other things, take them away, use coconut milk and green curry paste forĀ an entirely more fragrant and less rich affair…

This may well just be the beginning of an array of ‘Things to fill pumpkin bowls with’…
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Ingredients

1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 or 5 lamb chops or gigots (optional)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of hot curry paste (garam masala)
1 aubergine, cubed
1 sweet potato, semi-roasted
flesh of 4 small pumpkins, roasted
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups water
a handful of fresh spinach leaves

Making

Preheat the oven. The pumpkin will need to roast for about 45 minutes before you start making the curry so plan in advance. Removing the flesh from the pumpkin well in advance makes life a lot easier. Carefully remove the tops, cut into the flesh to get at the seeds, scoop, dig, tear, do whatever you have to to get the seeds out.

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Discard the seeds or set them aside for toasting later. Then start scooping out the pumpkin flesh. Have ready a roasting dish in which to roast the pumpkin and the sweet potato. Set the pumpkin bowls aside with their ‘lids’, rinse out any extra scraps of seed or flesh and pat dry. Put the pumpkin flesh in the oven with the sweet potato for at least 40 minutes. Then remove as much of the lamb as you can from the bone. In a hot pan quickly sear the lamb on both sides to seal in the juices, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onions to the hot pan with the garlic and the mustard seeds. Let soften for a few minutes before adding the aubergine. When the aubergine is soft add the meat, the roasted pumpkin and sweet potato. The sweet potato need only be partially cooked. Stir well for a few minutes, then add the curry paste. Stir well and add the water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour on a low heat. Just before serving add the fresh spinach leaves. They’ll wilt only slightly and add a splash of green to the comforting caramel toffee texture of this warming spicy stew.

Spoon into the four pumpkins and serve with the lids on!DSC_0540