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17 September 2017

Pumpkin Rösti w/ Chanterelle Mushrooms & Spinach


Sometimes, or perhaps most of the time we cook because we need to eat, but there are also those special times where you cook for the love of it, for the art of the food and the delicious flavours, you enjoy the proceess and relax into your task.



This next recipe is one of the latter, where a few more steps may be involved, but it's more than worth it. Autumn pumpkin & waxy potatoes, with sauteed onion and smoked garlic, combine into a twist on a classic Swiss dish, served up with a side of vegan crème fraîche, chantarelle mushrooms, wilted spinach and more of that earthy, woody smoked garlic, reminding you of cold nights around an open fire. I first had rösti in Switzerland almost 10 years ago now, inside a cozy little pub near the ski slope on our first night, sheltering from the cold, the fire roaring, tucking into the most perfectly cooked rösti, creamy all the way through and all crisp on the outside.




While my recipe is a little twist on the tradition, I of course, still wanted to do it justice, so when the first batch of little rösti cakes weren't up to scratch I started looking into how I could change it. The first being that I added some potato to strengthen it a little, then I decided to use a mandolin to create those delicate strands of pumpkin and potato, instead of a grater and I added a little flour, traditionally you wouldn't add any, or would use a little potato starch, which you can, but it needs a little starch to soak up the extra liquid from the pumpkin. I also changed my idea of mini rösti and made a giant one, that I baked in the oven until beautifully golden - something hearty and that lives up to my fond memories of rösti in the mountains all those years ago. The pumpkin caramelises on the bottom of the pan, adding a rich, sweet depth of flavour to the creamy potato, with fragrant notes of thyme popping through, complimented by the few crispy strands from the edges. Nothing compares to this and it is completely worth the time and effort.


I also decided to cook my rösti in a cast iron pan - a minor detail being that I didn't actually have one a week ago. But, I am the proud owner of a vintage cast iron pan now and I am sort of obsessed with it already. When I started looking into the pan I wanted to get, I knew I should get the one I wanted, after all cast iron is known for lasting a lifetime. So I spent time researching and noticed that the vintage cast iron pans were sanded and polished, making them so much smoother than the modern type, heightening the over all cooking and especially non-stick features of the pan...so I had a look and found that there is a company in America who sold new ones, to the design I was looking for, but that didn't help me in the UK...so I went for a vintage one and I have to say it is stunning. If you don't have a cast iron, then any oven-proof pan will do, but now that I've got one, I cannot wait to continue cooking with it! There is a bit of care that goes into maintaining a cast iron, so it's worth reading up before you get one, but in my opinion, it's worth that care and reminds us to slow down and do things properly.


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Pumpkin Rösti with Chanterelle Mushrooms & Spinach | Serves: 6 | Prep time: 1 hour | Cooking time: 1 hour

You'll need

  • Cast iron/oven proof skillet
  • Small frying pan
  • Mandoline slicer with julienne blade/ box grater
  • Silicone spatula
  • Large bowl
  • Pastry brush

Ingredients

Rösti
  • 1/2 medium pumpkin 
  • 3 medium waxy potatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 large clove smoked garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • Vegan butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plain flour/potato starch
  • Salt
  • Pepper
To Serve:
  • 1 clove smoked garlic
  • 300g chanterelle/wild mushrooms
  • 3 large handfuls spinach
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • vegan crème fraîche/sour cream

Method

  1. Chop round the stalk of the pumpkin and remove, then cut in half and scoop out the middle. Cut one half into 4 segments and carefully remove the skin with a knife. Then peel the potatoes. Using a mandoline slicer with the julienne blade on the thinnest setting, cut the pumpkin and potatoes into thin strips and place in a large bowl. Alternatively, you can use a box grater, but this will release more water from the veg, so you'll need to squeeze some of the liquid out.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Finely dice and onion and fry with a knob of vegan butter and a splash of olive oil until it starts to soften, then crush in the garlic and fry for a few more minutes, then stir in the thyme and remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of sliced veg, ensuring you scrape all the oil too. Then add the flour, season with salt (1/2-3/4 tsp) and pepper and thoroughly mix together. 
  3. Slowly heat up the pan on a low-medium heat and when it's hot add a splash of oil and a knob of dairy free butter and tilt the pan to spread it around. Spoon in the rösti mix a little at a time and press down to form a firm, even layer, then, using a spatula, tuck in loose strands at the edges, so they don't burn and leave it to gently cook for 5 minutes. 
  4. Then transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 1 hour, or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare mushrooms buy brushing off any remaining dirt (washing them will make them soggy). Crush a clove of garlic and fry gently with a little dairy free butter, then add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, then add the spinach and thyme to the pan and stir gently until it has wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer the rösti onto a plate and cut into 6 pieces, serve each slice with a dollop of crème fraîche and the mushrooms and spinach on the side and enjoy!
Cassidy xx