It is autumn, the season of Harvest Festivals and a time to take in your pumpkins and squashes before the frost threatens. My daughter once got first prize and Best in Show at the Ainsdale Show for a Pumpkin she grew. The variety she grew was called Sumo and like many giant pumpkins there was a trade off between size and flavour. After much experiment I have identified a couple of pumpkins/squashes that I think are excellent culinary varieties: Crown Prince and Uchiki Kuri. It is rare to see specific varieties of pumpkins mentioned in recipes, so you can imagine my delight when The Independent this Sunday devoted a whole section to pumpkins and recommended using Crown Prince .
The PUMPKIN - CROWN PRINCE or WHANGAPARAOA CROWN come from New Zealand and as you see is a hefty specimen weighing in at about 4kg-5kg. Underneath the steel grey/blue skin is a dense orange flesh. It makes brilliant soup and excellent curries-but more of that later.
The recipes in the Independent said use an onion squash or a Crown Prince. Now the Uchiki Kuri is a Japanese 'tear drop' variety or onion squash and weighs in at about 1kg. So I have this vision of an person enthused by the article dashing out to Waitrose-where they do occasionally stock Crown Prince- and coming come to prepare the dish and landing up with 4x the pumpkin flesh required.
Ah well my readers are not so rule bound so let me direct you to a recipe which will take a whole Crown Prince, in fact you use the hollowed out and baked pumpkin to serve this curry. The recipe was collect by Sophie Grigson at a West Indian Church in London where it was the centre piece of their harvest supper. For meat eaters amongst you can add diced shoulder of lamb to the onion/spice mixture to seal it before adding the tomatoes, then cook until tender and then proceed as the recipe.