Tian de Courge

Pumpkin Gratin

On wintry Sundays there is always a roast on the Bouquet’s fireplace spit. The vegetables may be whole onions baked in richly herbed meat juices or a terra cotta dish may appear, filled with this melting tian of pumpkin. ‘Tian’ refers both to a Provençal gratin & also to the dish in which it is cooked. Before gas and electric ovens made their appearance, the tian, with sunken coal-filled metal lid, was placed on a three-footed iron stand in the corner of the fire place.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb/1 kg pumpkin, peeled, seeded & chopped in small cubes
  • 1/2 cup rice, boiled for 10 minutes & drained well
  • 1 handful grated gruyère cheese
  • 4 tbsp/60 ml flour, sieved
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp/75 ml thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp/25 ml freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 oz/100 g breadcrumbs (optional)
  • olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 325°F/170°C/gas 3. Toss together all the ingredients except breadcrumbs until pumpkin is well covered with flour and herbs. Put into a well-oiled gratin dish and cover with breadcrumbs. Drizzle a few tbsp of olive oil over the top and bake until top is crusty and deep caramel brown. The pumpkin will have an almost puree-like consistency. It is excellent either ion its own with crisp winter salad or as an accompaniment to a simple roast.