Roasted pumpkin with fennel and thyme

Pumpkin is probably my most favourite vegetable, for its natural nutty sweetness and capacity to absorb flavour. I love it in soups, curries, as part of a traditional baked dinner slathered with gravy, and roasted with spices and garlic and herbs as in this recipe. In my part of the world there are a number of excellent varieties of pumpkin that are full of flavour, but Butternut and Kent pumpkins are my preference. This recipe uses Kent pumpkin and I roast it with the skin on, to help the pumpkin hold its shape when it is cooked, and for the eyes to feast on its mottled green and gold skin.

The best part of this dish is the juxtaposition of the hot pumpkin – slightly sweet, with aniseed notes from the fennel and earthy thyme – and the cool freshness of the yoghurt. It’s best eaten straight from the oven as an accompaniment to lamb or as a component of a vegetarian meal, or with some pita or turkish bread as a snack or quick lunch.

Serves 4 – 6 as an accompaniment

  • 750g Kent pumkins, sliced into 1 cm wedges
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons soft, brown sugar
  • 6 sprigs thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves, skin on, sliced lengthwise
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 350g thick greek yoghurt

Preheat oven to 180 C. Put all ingredients except the pumpkin in a large mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin and coat well with the spice mixture. Place pumpkin on a baking tray, drizzle over every last drop of the spice mixture and roast for about 40 minutes until golden and with some crispy charred edges on the pumpkin. Spread the yoghurt onto a serving plate and heap the pumpkin on top. Sprinkle with the remaining fresh thyme and serve straight away.