One of my favourite vegetables to roast is pumpkin! This roasted pumpkin dish is going to tick every box you can think of! Creamy labne, toasted hazelnuts, delicious sumac rubbed pumpkin cooked to perfection and a pop of joy from the pomegranate ariels.
Why You Will Love This Recipe!
- great as a share plate
- perfect for vegetarians and meat eaters
- can be served as a side or main course (maybe add a little bacon!)
- bright and beautiful colours
- can be prepared in advance for dinner parties
My sumac roasted pumpkin, labne, toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate dish is one of those show stoppers. Put this down at the centre of the table alongside your main course and it'll be the first thing people dig into. The majority of it can be prepared in advance so all you need to do is roast the pumpkin when guests arrive. HEck, you can do that in advance too and gently reheat the roast pumpkin in the oven 😉
What is Sumac?
I hadn't heard of sumac until I watched some fancy cooking show recently. Not something you see on too many menus back home in Ireland so when I moved to Oz and saw it was readily available in stores I figured it can't hurt to try it. Boy, I was wrong. Not because it's bad. Quite the opposite - it's DELISH and now I want to sprinkle it on everything.
Sumac is a middle eastern bush that produces deep red berries. Typically you will see it in powder form in stores but in some places - mainly throughout the middle east and Mediterranean you might come across it in berry form. Its tangy taste is a great way to add some citrus flavour to your dish at a lower level than a squeeze of lemon. What's better is it's low on aroma so it doesn't overpower or compete with other aromas.
Essential in middle eastern cooking sumac is actually one of the main ingredients used in making Zaatar. Zaatar is typically used to flavour meat before cooking and often used as a dip with bread. Sometimes drizzled over bread in paste form or just sprinkled on to finish. Sumac works fabulously with vegetables (like my roasted pumpkin dish), with chicken instead of citrus. Imagine sumac rubbed chicken slow-roasted to perfection on your bbq. Que Homer Simpson drool....... The fact it is a spice also means it will keep fresh for WAY longer than citrus. My advice is to hit your local market and try to pick up some right away.
Yoghurt Cheese or Labne
Now, this couldn't be any easier. I used to make ricotta a lot at home and thought I was a genius - I still am in case you are wondering. But making Labne is honestly so damn simple. It literally is just yoghurt and salt. Obviously you can sexy it up and put some spices, herbs or aromatics in as the taste is quite neutral. In this recipe I added garlic and lemon juice to a) add flavour and b) back up that sumac taste too.
So, grab yourself a tub of yoghurt, mix in some salt and place it in some cheesecloth to hang overnight in the fridge and all of a sudden you are a self-proclaimed cheesemonger.
How To Toast Hazelnuts
Now here is a GREAT tip that will transform the way you eat nuts - shhhhhh don't tell your partner!! Have you ever eaten a hazelnut straight up? They aren't bad but the texture is a little cloying in my opinion. Not the best but not bad. Well, stop the lights because all you need to do is pop them in the oven on medium/high heat (160c will do) for about 8 - 10 minutes and let them toast away. You are left with this glorious blackish coloured exterior and this delicious crispy toasty nut to devour. Sprinkle these over the roasted pumpkin and labne and call yourself a hero!
Pro tip - once toasted wrap them in a towel, massage those nuts for a minute and you will remove the outer crust revealing a beautiful, shiny and delicious toasted hazelnut. PS - get your mind out of the gutter!
In season now down under. I LOVE it. So versatile in its uses. Think roasted in the oven, used for soup, pureed with a rack of lamb or inside of some pasta with ricotta. It screams Autumn and Wintertime and when you roast it whole or in large wedges it allows you to extract maximum flavour too. People can be a little apprehensive about eating the skin. Roasting these kent pumpkins or kabocha squash as they are also known as with the skin makes it perfectly edible and in my opinion, adds a far more rustic look and feel to the dish. If you are looking for pumpkin or squash inspiration other than this delicious sumac roasted pumpkin then check out these recipes below!
- Smoked Pumpkin Hummus
- Pumpkin & Pork Risotto
- Whole Roasted Squash & Herb Oil
- Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad by "A Baking Journey"
- Pumpkin, Ricotta & Sage Pasta by "It's Not Complicated"
- Warm Lamb Salad by "Chef Not Required"
- Hasselback Pumpkin w/ Brown Butter & Sage by "Belly Rumbles"
If this isn't inspiration for you then I dunno what is!
Can't have some delicious roasted pumpkin on your table without a wine pairing, can you? Definitely not in this house anyways 😉 This dish, as mentioned works great alongside any grilled meat or roast but the pairing I have chosen, is for the roasted pumpkin dish alone. Although, I am pretty sure that you will find many other opportunities to crack into the delicious Cape Mentelle Chardonnay!
Cape Mentelle - one of the big players in Western Australia and rightly so! I haven't had a bad drop from them and I've been fortunate enough to taste through most of the range! Their chardonnay, rated 95 points is known internationally as an exceptional chardonnay. It's a wine that whilst youthful shows so much promise in the glass and will only develop over the next 5-10 years too.
Think buttered popcorn, stone fruits, an air of vanilla and maybe even a touch of pineapple too on the nose. The palate offers creamy, citrusy and nutty notes with lovely textural notes, balanced acidity and great length. It's a "wish you have 6 n the cellar" kinda wine!
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!
- 1 kg pumpkin cut in wedges
- 2 tbsp sumac
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500 g whole milk yoghurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 50 g hazelnuts
- 1 handful parsley chopped
- 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- mixing spoons
- mixing bowl
- muslin cloth
- 2 baking sheet
- Chef Knives
- Chopping board
- Mix all the ingredients together. Place in muslin cloth or towel and hang over a bowl in the fridge for 4-6hrs
- Roast hazelnuts in oven @ 180c for 10 minutes. Wrap in a cloth and massage to remove skin. Chop roughly.
- Cut the pumpkin into wedges – either4 larger or 8 smaller depending upon size of pumpkin. I did 8 x 2” wedges
- Drizzle with oil, salt & sumac
- Place on a lined baking tray andvroast for 20 minutes @ 180c (cooking times will vary depending upon pumpkin size
- Drizzle honey over pumpkin and roastfor a further 10 minutes
- Place labneh on center of plate and swirl to make a "pool"of labneh. Place pumpkin on top and then scatter chopped hazelnuts, pomegranate and parsley over. I like to use maldon salt to finish too but it's not "essential"
- you can cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces to cook quicker but I like the large format and the simplicity of big wedges
- labneh can be hung for anywhere from a couple hours to 24hrs. I find 4-6hrs is my sweet spot for a thick creamy yoghurt cheese
- if sumac isn't available to you then you can rub the pumpkin in oil & chilli flakes and finish with a squeeze of lime for something different
- keep an eye on the hazelnuts as they will burn easily. I set my alarm for 8 minutes and assess at that point. Don't wanna burn your nuts........
- If you put the honey on at the start it will burn before the 30mins cooking time is done
- you can substitute carrots for pumpkin if you are looking for an alternative