Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jamie At Home: Episode 1, Pumpkin & Squash

Jamie Oliver is working with pumpkins and squashes today. (Ooh, he has one of those so-ugly-it’s-pretty squash with all the knots, bumps and wrinkles.) He starts off at his outdoor oven by making an Asian-style pumpkin warm salad with duck.

He cuts a pumpkin into slices, and seasons them with salt and pepper, and then coats all the slices with coriander seeds, red chili, cinnamon, and olive oil. He places them on a roasting pan and puts it in his outdoor wood oven and roasts the pumpkin for about 45 minutes.

Already cooking is a whole duck, which looks nice and brown. But today’s all about pumpkin, so Jamie says he’s not going to get into specifics about roasting the duck because “it’s so easy.” He says to basically just season with salt and pepper and coat with olive oil and roast in the oven for about two hours.

He starts working on the other components for his salad, toasting the pumpkin seeds and then making the dressing.

In a bowl, he combines juice from two limes, 50 percent of olive oil, few drips of sesame oil, tablespoon of soy sauce, teaspoon of unrefined sugar (hmm, never heard of that), grated chili, grated garlic, and chopped spring onions, fresh coriander, and mint.

The dressing would be very Vietnamese or Thai if he used fish sauce instead of soy sauce.

He gets his duck and pumpkin from the oven and removes the meat from the duck breast with two forks. He starts to build his salad by placing the meat, then adding pumpkin seeds, squash pieces, coriander and mint, and drizzles the dressing on top.

I have to say, the idea of a warm salad, especially duck, sounds nice but it really looks like a big pile of mess.

Maybe Jamie will make his next dish prettier. He’s making Butternut Squash Muffins. (Complete recipe here on the Food Network site.) Never heard of that, so it sounds interesting. (I tried to make pumpkin muffins once and they came out so dense.) I bet they’re really filling.

He cuts up the butternut squash into pieces, including the skin! He assures us that the skin, after it’s been washed, is fine to cook with and it’ll be nice and chewy. Not sure I like that idea, but if Jamie says so. He puts the squash chunks and 400 grams of unrefined sugar into the food processor and pulses everything. Then he adds four eggs, a pinch of salt, 300 grams of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and handful of walnuts and then pulses everything together. He smoothens out his batter with extra virgin olive oil.

He fills the muffin pan about 3/4 of the way and bakes a dozen for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

To top his muffins (they actually look more like cupcakes), Jamie makes icing with Clementine zest, lemon zest, lemon juice, sour cream and vanilla seeds from a pod (you can use vanilla extract if you don’t want to spend the money for those expensive vanilla pods). He also adds two tablespoons of icing sugar and blends them all together, then puts a dollop on each cupcake. (Jamie, you’re kind of skimpy on the icing, there, buddy.)

Back in the tool shed, Jamie is going to make a pumpkin soup, which is a classic that I’m sure everyone’s made. (Mostly because it’s one of those soup that also looks very pretty.) Here's the complete recipe here.

He uses some pumpkin that looks big and oddly shaped that sounds like he says is a “mustard de Provence.” He slices it into slabs.

Then he starts the basis of his soup with two carrots, two garlic cloves, two red onions, and two celery sticks. He roughly chops the celery and onions and then puts them with some olive oil into a pot to sweat them down. (He smokes up the place and for a bit he looks like a kid setting off the smoke alarm.)

Jamie slices up the carrots and garlic, then adds them with the onion and celery. He also adds a twig of rosemary, with some salt and pepper and puts the pot back on the heat.

With the chunks of pumpkin, he puts them into a pressure cooker. I’ve never cooked with one, but he just added the pumpkins with two liter of chicken stock and basically it only took six minutes to cook the pumpkin and get them soft. I need to get me a pressure cooker. (BTW, I noticed Jamie’s hands are all orange from handling the pumpkin. Good thing to keep in mind: If you don’t want orange hands, you might want to wear rubber gloves.)

He focuses on the garnish for the soup. So Jamie gets a few fresh sage leaves and puts them into a pan with olive oil, and basically quickly fries them up. He removes the sage leaves, and with the leftover olive oil he uses it to rub two pieces of ciabatta bread.

Jamie grates parmesan cheese right onto the two slices of ciabatta, and pats down the cheese onto both sides, then puts them back onto a dry pan to melt the cheese onto the toast.

After his pumpkin is all done in six minutes (again, I need a pressure cooker), he uses a hand blender (now I have that) to puree the soup until a beautiful orange smooth blend is created. He seasons with salt and pepper as he goes, tasting along the way.

(OK, I think I got confused. I missed the step when he added the pot of cooked vegetables like the onions, celery and carrots. What happened to those? Well, basically you should just add that to the pumpkin and it’ll all get pureed into a smooth blend.)

He serves up his soup by putting one piece of the parmesan toast on the bottom of a bowl with the other one on the side, then pours the soup right on top. He finishes it off with the crispy sage leaves and drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Pretty, natch.

Must be a British Thing:
Just some clarification on some of the terms Jamie uses.

Icing sugar=powdered sugar


Jamieisms heard in this episode:

Rock and roll
Bob’s your uncle (perfectly done)

Jamie At Home airs on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on the Food Network. Visit Jamie’s Web site at More on the accompanying book for the series here.

Photos courtesy of


Anonymous said...

You didn't miss the part with the other vegetables - he cooks them in the pressure cooker pot, then adds the pumpking and stock to the pressure cooker pot, puts on the lid and cooks it for 6 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe notes, Singleguy. Oliver's very proprietary about his recipes and as I'm sure you know, many are not available online. You saved me the trouble of having to watch the episode again, pen and paper in hand!

Jacqueline said...

Thanks for your summary. I caught this rerun, and the lack of actual recipes (duck and pumpkin salad) drives me nuts.