Stuffed butternut squash
I think the idea for this may have come from a Jamie Oliver book originally but it's been altered a bit and has become a firm favourite since we started growing squashes a few years ago. The rice cooks in the squash using only the moisture from its flesh.
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- 1 butternut squash, cut in half and seeds removed and reserved - This recipe works well with any squash or small pumpkin.
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons of dried mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, squished in a garlic crusher
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, bashed in a mortar and pestle
- Pinch of chilli flakes
- 5 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- A sprig of thyme, chopped
- 100g (3.5 oz) basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
- Garlic olive oil (normal olive oil will also do)
- 3 rashers home smoked bacon or parma ham, chopped into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons of stock or wine.
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220° C (425°F / Gas 7 / Hot)
- Soak the mushrooms for 10 minutes in a 100 ml of boiling water
- Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold running water for a minute to remove any excess starch, then leave to drain in the sieve
- Using an ice-cream scoop, if you have one, scoop out about half the flesh of both halves of the squash, making sure you leave leaving enough around the edges and which is an even thickness
- Chop half of this flesh with half of the reserved seeds, discard the rest
- In a wok or frying pan, add a couple of shakes of garlic olive oil, fry the onions, garlic and bacon for a few minutes
- Add the cumin seeds, chilli flakes, thyme, tomatoes and chopped squash flesh and seeds.
- Fry for 5 minutes
- Add the mushrooms, 50 ml of the water they have been soaking in, the rice and the pine nuts, stir and heat for 3 minutes
- Season the mixture to taste
- Stuff the squash with the mixture
- Add a few tablespoons of stock, wine or water to contents in the bottom half. I've used white wine, sherry, lager, chicken stock, vegetable stock or even just water. It just helps to ensure the rice receives enough moisture.
- Join the two halves together and wrap tightly in a sheet of lightly oiled tin foil
- Bake in an oven dish for an hour and a half
- Check the rice is cooked before you fully unwrap the squash. Pop it back in the oven for another 15 minutes if needed.
- Serve immediately
Joining the two halves
Having made this for years I have just worked out a simple way of joining the two halves. Place a small sheet of tin foil on one half, turn that one over holding the foil so the stuffing stays in the squash, hold the two halves tightly together and pull the piece of foil out! Obvious really!
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