Elizabeth David's Pumpkin and Tomato Gratin
This is the first recipe I've ever tried from famed British food writer, Elizabeth David. It's a very colorful, tasty vegetarian dish, one I was especially happy to come across as I still have a pile of pumpkins and a constantly full windowsill of ripening tomatoes, smiling at me whenever I pass through the kitchen.
And just look at these colors. Aren't they beautiful?
I'm not gonna lie, this dish takes a bit of time to prepare -- you have to peel and chop pumpkins, chop and sautee tomatoes, put it all together and bake for 35 or 40 minutes. But it is tasty and filling, with the dominant flavor being tomato. I think it would make a lovely Thanksgiving side dish, if you're looking for an extra one and have the time.
I made a few minor changes -- omitting parsley, for example, and cutting down the salt a bit -- so I'll write it here the way I made it. The recipe comes from the book Elizabeth David's Christmas, edited by Jill Norman, compiled from Elizabeth David's notes after her 1992 death.
PUMPKIN AND TOMATO GRATIN
1 small pumpkin (2-3 lbs.)
2 T. butter
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 1/2 t. coarse sea salt
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. tomatoes, chopped
1 piece of bread, torn into small pieces
1 T. butter
Peel pumpkin and chop into small chunks, discarding seeds and gummy stuff in the middle. In large, heavy frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add pumpkin, celery, and salt. Cook gently, uncovered, until pumpkin is soft. (This took maybe 20-30 minutes? I kept spearing the little pumpkin cubes and tasting until it seemed suitably soft. At this point the dish is pretty salty, but don't worry; it all works out in the end.) In Elizabeth's words, the pumpkin should be "just beginning to look slightly jammy."
Remove from heat and place pumpkin in shallow gratin dish.
In the same pan, cook the garlic and tomatoes at medium-high heat until most of the liquid cooks off. ("The tomatoes are almost in a puree," says Elizabeth -- this took maybe 20 minutes or so.) Remove from heat, mix in with the pumpkin, and smush down the veggies till they're flat.
Top off the dish with the torn bread pieces and the remaining T. of butter, cut into little blobs. Bake in top third of the oven, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until golden.