This is dedicated to all those pumpkins that have been ruthlessly left out to rot in the past week.
Spare a thought for all their faded hopes and dreams of becoming a pumpkin pie or risotto, which were well and truly squashed when discarded.
That being said, a warm salad of burnt cabbage & cavolo nero served with pumpkin & miso and crispy chicken thighs is the perfect send-off.
(You can simply replace the pumpkin with butternut squash if you can’t stomach to see another one again.)
Shopping list (serves 6):
Chicken thighs x 6
Zest of one lemon
Garlic cloves (finely chopped) x 2
Fresh thyme x 1 small handful
Large cabbage (cut into even chunks) x 1
Cavolo nero (stems removed) x 200g
Sesame oil x 1 tbsp
Squeeze of lemon juice
Miso & pumpkin purée
Small pumpkin or squash (peeled, cored & cubed) x 1
Miso paste x 1 tbsp
Unsalted butter x 25g
Walnuts (toasted) to serve
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water up to the boil, before dropping in the pumpkin and cooking for 20 minutes.
Remove and leave to steam dry for 10 minutes. Combine this with the butter and miso paste in another pan, and blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Keep warm and set aside.
Set your oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C.
In large frying pan, place the chicken thighs skin side down in a glug of oil. Gently bring the heat up to medium, season well with salt and black pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, or until crispy. Place in the hot oven for a further 10 minutes.
At the same time, in the same frying pan, cook the cabbage pieces and garlic over a medium heat with the sesame oil. Add the cavolo nero for five minutes, and turn the heat up to high. Continue to cook until evenly cooked, charred and crispy.
Remove the chicken thighs from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Take the cabbage and cavolo nero off the heat, grate the lemon zest over the top, before adding a squeeze of lemon juice and the thyme leaves. Mix well.
Serve everything warm, with a final sprinkling of thyme leaves and a handful of crushed toasted walnuts.