• If you’re not sure what to do with that leftover roasted pumpkin, we’ve got the answer. Pumpkin, Gruyère and oregano-polenta chips with bacon dust and lemon aïoli are easy to make and deliciously addictive. Polenta chips make for a delicious side dish to roasted meat, chicken or fish. 

    Pumpkin, Gruyère and oregano-polenta chips with bacon dust and lemon aïoli

    Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: 2 hrs


    • Lemon aïoli

    • 2 (150g) garlic bulbs
    • olive oil, to drizzle
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 20ml (4 tsp) lemon juice
    • 5ml (1 tsp) Dijon mustard
    • 250ml (1 cup) sunflower oil
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) cold water
    • zest of ½ lemon
    • 2,5ml (½ tsp) sugar
    • salt and freshly ground black
    • pepper, to taste
    • Bacon dust

    • 250g streaky bacon
    • Polenta chips

    • 10ml (2 tsp) olive oil
    • 2 (50g) spring onions, finely chopped
    • 300g polenta
    • 330ml (1 cups) milk
    • 250ml (1 cup) vegetable stock, warm
    • 172g roasted pumpkin, chopped
    • 80g Gruyère, finely grated
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh oregano, chopped
    • 5ml (1 tsp) salt
    • 5ml (1 tsp) sugar
    • sunflower oil, to shallow-fry
    • 60ml (4 tbsp) cake flour, seasoned



    For the lemon aïoli, preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the garlic bulbs on a piece of foil, drizzle with a splash of olive oil and wrap in the foil. Place in a roasting tray and roast, 40 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool. Cut the bulbs open and squeeze out the soft garlic flesh. Keep the oven on at 200°C.


    Place the egg yolk in a food processor. Add 5ml (1 tsp) of the lemon juice and mustard and blitz to combine. Keep the motor running while pouring in the sunflower oil in a slow, steady stream. The mixture will thicken. Blitz in the roasted garlic flesh, water, lemon zest, the remaining 15ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice and the sugar until smooth. Season to taste and refrigerate until needed.


    For the bacon dust, arrange the bacon on a roasting tin and roast, 15 – 20 minutes at 200°C, until crisp. Transfer to paper towel to drain off any residual fat and allow to cool. Place in a food processor and blitz until fine. Reheat before serving, if needed.


    For the polenta chips, grease and line 2 loaf tins (22cm x 8cm) with baking paper, leaving a small overhang. Heat a pot over medium heat. Add the 10ml (2 tsp) olive oil and the chopped spring onions, and fry, 1 minute. Whisk in the polenta, milk and vegetable stock, and simmer until thick, 10 – 15 minutes. It will be much firmer than regular soft polenta in order to retain the shape of the chips.


    Place the pumpkin, Gruyère, oregano, salt and sugar in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Stir into the warm polenta. Divide the mixture between the 2 loaf tins and pack it in tightly and evenly. Smooth out the tops and refrigerate, at least 30 minutes.


    Lift the polenta out of the tins by taking hold of and pulling on the baking paper. Cut each slab of polenta into 8 fingers. Heat the sunflower oil, for shallow-frying, in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dust the polenta with the cake flour and shake off the excess. Fry the chips in batches, 1 – 2 minutes per side, until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel.


    To serve, top the warm oregan-polenta chips with the bacon dust and serve with the lemon aïoli alongside for dipping.


    Cook's tip: If a food processor is not available to make the aïoli, place the yolk, lemon juice and mustard in a large mixing bowl. Whisk with a balloon whisk to combine. Slowly drip in 80ml ( cup) of the sunflower oil by adding it with a fork and whisking continuously with the balloon whisk. Using a fork will prevent you from adding too much oil at once, which could result in the aïoli splitting. Pour in the remaining oil by adding it in a slow, steady stream while continuously whisking. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and simply chop the garlic until fine and paste-like before whisking it in as well. Season to taste.