Makes about 1½ cups
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
If using a Hokkaido pumpkin, there is no need to peel. The skin will turn soft when cooking and adds both flavor and color to the spread. Either fresh or high-quality vacuum-packed chestnuts can be used. For fresh chestnuts, make a small cut on the top of each chestnut and cook in lightly salted boiling water for about 2 minutes to loosen.
1 pound pumpkin, cut into ¾-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves
4 large sage leaves, roughly torn, plus additional small leaves for garnish
3 juniper berries, crushed
¼ cup mild olive oil
Fine sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Sunflower oil or another neutral oil
5 chestnuts, chopped, optional
Toasts or crackers
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Toss the pumpkin with the garlic, sage, juniper berries, olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes.
Transfer all of the roasted ingredients, including any liquid, to a high-powered blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and zest. Blend until smooth, adding water a little at a time, up to 2 tablespoons, until smooth. Spoon into a serving bowl.
If adding chestnuts, heat a generous film of oil in a small skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the chestnuts, swirling in the pan to brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Drain on paper towels if needed. Coarsely chop and add to the top of the spread.
Garnish with the small sage leaves and serve with toasts or crackers on the side.