Serves 4 (but if you make double you can freeze half)
Pumpkins and squash keep for ages and are still readily available in January. This recipe is completely vegetarian and uses some store cupboard beans and lively spicing for a simple and delicious midweek meal. It’s works really well with some heavily toasted bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil. It’s also perfect as a vegetable accompaniment to fish or chicken or a meat stew.
½ small Crown Prince squash or 1 medium butternut squash (or any other sweet-fleshed pumpkin); 4–5 sprigs fresh thyme; 1 tsp allspice (can be substituted with cinnamon or nutmeg, or even ground clove); ½ tsp each of following ground spices: cumin, coriander, cinnamon; 1 tsp smoked paprika; 2 (or more) cloves garlic, sliced crossways in approx 2 mm-thick pieces; ½ can chopped tomatoes; 1 can cooked butter beans (the jars of Spanish Judion beans are the best if you can get them, you’ll need ½ a jar for this recipe); olive oil; salt and pepper
Set the oven at 200˚C.
Peel the pumpkin or squash and cut into large (approx 2–3 cm) cubes. Place in a roasting dish and lightly dress with olive oil, salt and pepper and ½ tsp allspice. Put the thyme sprigs over the top and roast in the oven for about 20–30 minutes until still just firm.
Meanwhile, get about 2 tbsps olive oil warming over a medium heat in a pan large enough to eventually hold all the ingredients including the pumpkin. Add the garlic and fry and then add the rest of the allspice and all of the other spices, including the paprika. When the garlic is soft and just turning golden at the edges, add the tomatoes. Simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down, at least 10 minutes. Add in the butterbeans and heat together. Stir in the pumpkin (don’t worry if any thyme leaves get mixed in). If it all looks a bit dry, you may want to add ¼ pint of water or so at this stage. Simmer everything together for at least another 10 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and cooked through. Season to taste (you may want to add a little more smoked paprika at this stage) and serve.