It’s the end of October and you can’t swing a black cat without hitting something pumpkinny. Their pictures are on everything from cupcake cases to slippers, yet it would be a big mistake and a lost opportunity to dismiss these wonderful fruits as being the same kind of gimmick. The pumpkins which are oh-so-gloriously – if precariously – piled up outside the grocers are most certainly not just for carving into ghoulish smiling faces. They are one of the best seasonal treats of the whole year.
All the winter squashes, pumpkins in particular, make terrific mash. Partner it with some proper thick, meaty sausages, and if any of you can think of a better idea for a Friday night supper in October or November then I look forward to having you round and persuading you otherwise. Not really. But that is very nearly how much I love this dish.
Sausages with Pumpkin Mash
Serves two people.
6 best-quality-you-can-lay-your-hands-on sausages
1 small pumpkin or other winter squash
Salt & pepper
I do my sausages in the oven as I think it is the best way to ensure they don’t split, don’t burn and do cook all the way through. Heat the oven at 200 degrees, lay the sausages in a single layer in a baking dish, drizzle over a little olive oil and bake for 35 minutes, turning occasionally.
Once the sausages are in, get to work on the pumpkin. Peeling it is the first job. Cutting into it is second and that can be tricky. Many the time I have plunged my knife into the pumpkin and ended up in an Excalibur / Sword in the Stone situation. Please be careful.
Once you are in, cut the pumpkin into quarters and pull or scoop out the stringy bits and the seeds. (You could keep the seeds for toasting in the oven.) Now proceed with your pumpkin just as if you are making potato mash. Use the butter, salt and pepper for your mashing and once mashed, fork through a handful of chopped coriander.
Scoop the pumpkin into a serving dish and keep this somewhere warm until the sausages are ready. When they are, put the sausages on top of the mash and drizzle over the delicious juices from the sausage baking tin. Serve with some green leaves – rocket is good for a peppery hit that contrasts well with the 16-tog comfort of this dish.
Pumpkin mash is a very handy accompaniment for duck and chicken. Recently I skipped the mashing, mixed the drained pumpkin chunks with some browned pancetta and served it with mackerel. Darn good that was too. Just not as good as this sausage version.
Angela Clutton is writing a book about all kinds of ways of living and doing things that have been passed down through generations. For more information, visit her website.