I recently joined this competition here in Belgian called the ‘Libelle Lekker Foodblogger 2015’ and I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the 20 finalists. The first assignment we were given, was to create a pumpkin recipe. I knew right away there was one recipe I wouldn’t make, and that was soup. Yes sure, pumpkin soup is delicious but I’m always trying to find new recipes or new ways to use an ingredient. So I started looking for flavor combinations and recipes no one had done before and I ended up with 8 different dishes, eliminated half of it and then chose two that I might send in, based on how they tasted. I went back and forth a little while but I ended up sending in a recipe for filo baskets with roasted pumpkin, goat cheese, kale and root parsley. I chose this because kale and parsley root are very underestimated veggies and I love introducing you all to veggies you probably have never heard of or tried before. I have no idea whether or not this recipe got me through to the next round yet, so fingers crossed!
I actually came across kale by accident, when me and my mom went to my favorite food store here in Belgium, called Hanos, where they have so many fruit, veggies, meat, cheese, fish and so on that it’s the perfect place to come up with new recipes. We ended up buying some kale and my mom made a very lovely meal with some salmon, pasta, kale and yellow carrots. A few days later I got my first assignment for this competition and I immediately thought back of that kale flavor and was so sure it would go really well with pumpkin and some goat cheese. So I went down to the local food market, bought some kale and went looking for another ingredient that would go well with the other ingredients. I noticed that a lot of vendors were selling root parsley (it looks like parsnip but is totally different in taste), which was something I had never heard of before but the lady that was selling it assured me it had a really lovely flavor, and she was right! Regular carrots would’ve made the recipe quite bland as it’s a similar flavor as pumpkin, but these root parsleys are so delicate and sweet in flavor and has a hint of parsley in it. And there it was, the perfect combination of ingredients for a lovely Halloween snack!
Makes: 16 baskets
- 1/2 muscat squash/pumpkin (about 25-30 cm diameter)
- 2 crushed cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1.5 tablespoon of olive oil
- 150g goat cheese
- 3 parsley roots
- 3 stalks of kale
- 140g Greek filo pastry (12 large sheets)
- salt and pepper
- 200ml water
- 1 vegetable stock cube
Chop your pumpkin into pieces of about 3-5cm (no need to peel away the skin) and put them in a casserole. Mix the olive oil along with the garlic and pour it onto the pumpkin pieces, mingle it a little bit to make sure most pieces are covered with the garlic and olive oil. Season well with pepper and salt. I used quite a lot of pepper (around 10 grinds) and a little less salt (around 6 grinds). Put the pumpkin pieces in the oven at 200°C for 30 minutes.
Next up are the roots and kale. Cut the roots into thin slices and the kale into chunks of around 5 cm. Try to remove as much of the kale stalks as possible, it doesn’t taste bad but it’s not really what we want to use in the end, so try to only end up with leaves. Heat up butter in a large pot and stew the carrots for a couple of minutes. Add the kale once the roots have softened and let it stew again for a few minutes. In the meanwhile, mix the stock cube and the water and add it to the kale and roots. Let it simmer at medium-high heat, until most of the water is gone and the kale leaves have shrunk drastically.
We can now begin preparing our filo baskets! Put 3 sheets of filo pastry on top of each other and cut the sheets into 4 squares, each around 12x12cm. Put each square (which consists of 3 layers) into your muffin tin. To prevent your dough from going soggy, put the baskets into the oven at 200°C for 3-5 minutes, without the filling.
By now your pumpkin pieces should be well roasted, the kale and roots are cooked and the filo baskets are ready to be filled. Drain the water from the kale/roots and cut your pumpkin slices into small pieces. I chose to remove the skin of the pumpkin at this point (it’s a lot easier now than when it’s still raw), but feel free to leave it on as it is completely edible. Let’s start filling! Add one or two teaspoons of goat cheese to the bottom of the basket, add a few leaves of kale and a couple of slices of root parsley. Finish of with plenty of pumpkin pieces and put it all in the oven again for 15-20 minutes at 200°C and your Halloween filo baskets are ready to be eaten!
ps: If you have some leftovers, don’t worry, the filo pastry will go soft again once it gets cold and is put in the fridge. So you’ll be able to pop it in the oven for 15 minutes the next day and end up with crispy baskets again. Brilliant, right?