I was delighted when Tenderstem asked me to develop a recipe showcasing their long stemmed, sweet tasting, nutritious beauty. I cook with Tenderstem broccoli at least once a week; it turns up in stir fries, soups, risottos, as a side dish, with pasta and in quiches, tarts and flans. It’s grilled on the barbecue in summer and roasted with winter veg in November. We grab it raw, straight from the fridge and dip it into hummus, muhammara or chilli sauce. It is one of our favourite everyday vegetables but I wanted to really show it off in this recipe because it is just a little bit special.
Tenderstem is a cross between calabrese broccoli and Chinese kale and is in season from June until November. It’s a fabulous vegetable to have in your repertoire because you can use all of it; there aren’t any tough bits to discard, you just need to give it a rinse and you can eat the lot from florets to stem. It is the asparagus of the brassica world and 100g of it will give you your full daily requirement of Vitamin C.
I decided to complement the sweet taste of the Tenderstem, and the earthy taste of the pumpkin pancakes, with a creamy cheese sauce using locally produced Somerset goat’s cheese.
My pumpkin pancakes use roasted squash in the batter mix – you can do this from scratch or, you can do what I did, and defrost a batch which you have cleverly stored in your freezer because you just can’t resist pumpkins when you see them and buy a ridiculous number to decorate the house for Halloween and to scoff as the days grow shorter! Roast pumpkin freezes really well, just slice your squash, deseed it and pop it in a medium hot oven until tender, no need to peel. Let it cool, bag it, label it and freeze it. Just take out the quantity you need for your recipe, defrost it and then scoop the pumpkin flesh out of the skin!
This looks like a long recipe but it’s one of those where, once you’ve made the pumpkin pancakes, it all comes together quickly and you could always make the pancakes ahead of time and just reheat them in the oven.
For the Pumpkin Pancakes
- 150 g roasted squash
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 250 ml milk
- 125 g self raising flour
- 1 tsp English mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- Olive oil for frying
For the Goat’s Cheese Sauce
- 200 g Somerset Goat’s Cheese I used 2x 100g rinded goat’s cheeses
- 50-100 ml milk
For the Tenderstem Broccoli
- 8 stems of Tenderstem broccoli
- 1 red chilli chopped (or to taste, choose a chilli with a heat which suits you)
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 4 tbsp olive oil
To Make the Pumpkin Pancakes
- Put all the ingredients except the oil into a blender of food processor and process until you have a smooth batter
- Heat the oil in a small frying pan and pour 1/4 cup of batter in
- Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side until puffed up and browned
- Keep warm in a low oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes – this mixture makes 12 small pancakes
To Make the Goat’s Cheese Sauce
- Heat 50 ml of the milk gently in a small saucepan
- Roughly chop the cheese and add it to the pan
- When the cheese has melted strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove the rind (eat the rind on a cracker – cook’s perk!)
- Keep warm on a low ring
- Add more milk if your sauce is too thick
- For the Tenderstem
- Steam the Tenderstem for 5 – 8 minutes until just tender, drain and refresh under the cold tap, shake off the water
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the Tenderstem, chilli and garlic and fry gently for two minutes
- Place one pancake in the centre of each plate
- Top with one teaspoon of cheese sauce
- Place another pancake on top and another teaspoon of sauce
- Place the final pancake on top
- Arrange your Tenderstem beautifully atop the stack, pour two teaspoonfuls of cheese sauce over it and drizzle with a little of the chilli oil
These Pumpkin Pancake stacks make a lovely starter or serve them as a main dish with either roasted winter veg and some butter fried mushrooms or with a fresh couscous salad on the side.
Disclosure: This recipe was commissioned by Tenderstem
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