Roast Pumpkin & Kale + Thanksgiving Menu

If you have been to my house any time in the past few months, likelihood is, pumpkin was featured somewhere in the meal.  My children are about ready to revolt.  But I cannot stop eating its golden sweet flesh.  Roasted with red onions and a little allspice is possibly my favourite Autumn 2015 side dish, and as a bonus it leaves the house reeking of festive spirit.

This side dish is our addition to this year's Thanksgiving feast.  Ideal, as I can make it a few hours before the guests arrive, and leave it at room temperature, while I get on with the rest of the meal.  Of course, if you are more organised than me, you can make it and serve it warm, but those precious hours before dinner here is more than a little frantic, so I make it ahead to avoid any additional panic before the guests walk through the door.

I also wanted to share our Thanksgiving menu. This is a very collaborative meal, with my mother, sister, aunts and cousins all making their signature dishes.  As the meal is happening here, I am making the bird, gravy, stuffing, one cranberry sauce, this roasted pumpkin and kale and Ille Flottante for a crowd.  Everyone else is bringing the rest of the meal or I might have a nervous breakdown!  Most of the recipes are linked where available.

I would love to hear what you make for your festive feasts.  Please leave a comment at the end as I am sure they will inspire me and others in their future menu planning.

To all who are celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Menu 2015

Starters to nibble on with drinks:


Gravadlax with Dill and Mustard Sauce

Auntie Dianne's Chopped Liver

Crudités and Crackers


Nigellas Turkey (cooked upside down with timings as written in Feast.  I stuff it with herbs, an orange and an onion)

Nigella's Allspice Gravy with these helpful tips from Bon Appetit

Rowley Leigh Cranberry Sauce

Raw Cranberry and Orange Relish

Joy of Cooking Stuffing with Challah, Sage, Chestnuts, Apples and Prunes

Roasted Pumpkin with Kale (below)

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips

Brussel Sprouts with Capers and Walnuts

Red Cabbage Slaw


David Leibovitz Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ille Flottante for a crowd

Apple and Cranberry Crumble

And over the weekend I will have these hanging around for snacks and tea:

Cranberry Bars

Pear, Cranberry and Pecan Cake

Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Roasted Pumpkin with Kale

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

When not serving this on Thanksgiving, I like to serve it with tahini sauce a la Ottolenghi

1/2 Blue Hubbard / Jarrahdale pumpkin are my favourite (or 1 med butternut squash)

2 med red onions cut into 6 - 8 wedges each depending on their size

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground allspice

salt and pepper

300g Kale / Cavolo Nero

50g marcona almonds

a handful of parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F)

Peel and cut the pumpkin into wedges and arrange on a shallow sided baking sheet with the onions

Drizzle a good glug of olive oil over the top, and mix with allspice, salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-45 minutes, turning half way through until they are caramelised.

While the pumpkin and onions are roasting, strip the leaves from the tough centre ribs of the kale.  Blanch the leaves in boiling salted water for 3-5 minutes until they are cooked through but still bright green.

Drain and squeeze out all the excess water and arrange the leaves on the bottom of a shallow dish, drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  You may want to tear them up slightly.

When the pumpkin is cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to cool slighty.  Arrange over the steamed kale and sprinkle over the marcona almonds and parsley.

This will sit happily at room temperature for a few hours while you faff with the rest of the meal.