Yummy! I was watching The River Cottage Treatment on Channel 4 the other day and was inspired to try the butternut squash recipe. Mostly because Colin said "I'll try that". He's a plain eater so I was delighted to be able to try out a new recipe. I don't think he enjoyed it as much as I did mostly because I made it as a main dish and he would have been better off having is as a side dish along with something else as it is a very rich food. This is a great recipe as a main dish served with a fresh salad or as a side dish served with a lovely piece of meat. It would be a great substitute to mashed potatoe. I'll take it any way please!
This recipe serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish. The recipe calls for blue cheese and walnuts but that can be substituted for grated cheddar and smoked bacon bits (which is what I did).
You will need:
1 large butternut squash (about 1.5kg) or 2 small ones (about 750g each)
1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
a little olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g blue cheese such as Dorset Blue Vinney or stilton, crumbled into small lumps (or grated cheddar)
2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
75g walnut halves, lightly toasted and very coarsely chopped (or smoked bacon chopped into bits)
1 scant tbsp runny honey
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Make sure the outside of the squash is scrubbed clean. Cut the squash in half lengthways (this is where muscles come in handy).
Scoop out the seeds and soft fibres and chop your garlic.
Put in an ovenproof dish, put a little chopped garlic and a small nut of butter in each cavity, brush with olive oil, season well, and bake for about an hour, until the flesh feels very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. (Feel free to roast the seeds as you would pumpkin seeds for a delicious snack.)
I was so wrapped up in the process that I forgot to photograph the next couple steps. Oops!
Carefully scoop out the soft flesh, and the buttery, garlicky juices, into a bowl, leaving a 1cm-thick layer of flesh still attached to the skin, so the squash holds its shape. Roughly mash the flesh. Keep back a few bits of walnut and a few cubes of cheese, then fold the remaining walnuts and cheese into the soft squash, along with the thyme and some more salt and pepper. Spoon the filling back into the two empty squash halves and scatter on the reserved cheese and walnuts. Trickle over the merest lick of honey, then return the squashes to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling.
All I can say is ... "Get in my belly!"
Click here for the River Cottage Website.