Pumpkin and bacon gratin

Simple comfort cooking doesn't get better than Tom Norrington Davies' nutty-tasting pumpkin bake, studded with bacon
By Tom Norrington-Davies
Pumpkin and bacon gratin
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 4 x 200 g wedges of pumpkin, with skin
  • 2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 100 g dry cured bacon or pancetta, cut into lardons
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 8-10 sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 400 ml whole milk
  • 200 g cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp mustard, optional
  • 2 egg yolks
  • salt

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Scoop out the seeds from the pumpkin, but leave the skin on, and arrange in a greased roasting tray.

2. Drizzle the wedges with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven until tender - about 35 minutes. They should still hold their shape. Leave to cool until lukewarm.

3. Using a sharp paring or vegetable knife, peel the skins away from the cooked pumpkin flesh. Cut the pumpkin into 2-3cm chunks and tip into a casserole dish.

4. While the pumpkin is in the oven, start making the sauce. Heat the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon until crisp. Add the garlic and onions and continue frying until softened - about 10 minutes.

5. Scatter over the sage leaves and tip everything into a bowl, leaving behind any fat in the pan. Leave on one side. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.

6. Return the same pan to a low heat and sprinkle the flour into the pan. You might need to add extra butter or oil if the mixture looks too dry - aim to have a slack paste. Cook for about a minute, stirring all the time.

7. Gradually pour in the milk and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add the cheese and mustard, and remove the pan from the heat.

8. Stir in the onion and bacon mixture and whisk in the egg yolks. Pour the sauce all over the pumpkin and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the top of the baked dish is golden.

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