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Tag: Butternut Squash

Autumn in Florida {Pumpkin Pottage with Kale, MahiMahi and Bacon}

Florida vs London

The rain was coming down in torrential buckets after the stifling heat of the day, enticing my curiosity to go outside and observe nature in the tropics. In Florida the rain is different to that in London, where moments before I had been transported by the prologue of the book I’ve just started, Capital. Here at this latitude, it is almost always accompanied by a fanfare of thunder and cracking that makes one realise the heavens can be quite ferocious and nature has no friends (as we say in Spain).

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Cream of Pumpkin Soup aux Herbes de Provence

The butternut squash had been laying on the counter for a couple of weeks and I kept moving it closer to the preparation area near the sink as a reminder to myself to do something with it. I love pumpkin almost anything, but I really wanted to avoid making another soup.

As I’ve not been too inspired lately or have been blogging frequently enough, I wanted to create something special… but I ended up surprising myself with soup. Sometimes the quick and easy wins over; and as it was so tasty, I decided it’s worthy of sharing.

Hope you enjoy!

CREAM OF PUMPKIN SOUP AUX HERBES DE PROVENCE

Ingredients, for 4:

1/2 large butternut squash (the whole squash was about 750g), roasted
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, julienned
1/4 cup butter (I used Kerrygold)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoons herbes de Provence
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste if desired

Method:

I roasted the pumpkin split in half, shell side facing up, for almost 50 minutes at 180C (350F). You can do this in advance to have ready for the soup or other recipes. With the shell facing upwards, you avoid browning the flesh and have better tasting pumpkin meat.

Place the butter and olive oil in a large pot and melt over low heat. Add the garlic, onion, and celery and poach for about 8-10 minutes until tender. Add the tomatoes and cook an additional 3 minutes so the flavours blend. Add the meat of 1/2 pumpkin and give it a good stir to blend well.

Add the coconut milk and stir well. Remove from heat and with an immersion blender, puree all the ingredients. You can do this directly in the pot. Return the pot to the stove and add the filtered water.  Add the herbes de Provence and sea salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and allow to warm through on low heat.

If desired you can serve with pieces of hard-boiled egg, sautéed shrimp or other seafood.

*****

SOPA DE CALABAZA A LAS HIERBAS DE LA PROVENZA

Ingredientes, para 4:

1/2 calabaza (tipo butternut squash de unos 750g entera), horneada
3 dientes de ajo, cortados
3 pencas de apio, cortadas finamente
3 tomates medianos, pelados y cortados a cuartos
1 cebolla mediana, cortada en juliana
1/4 de la taza de mantequilla (como unos 30g, yo use de la marca Kerrygold)
2 cucharadas soperas, o un poquito mas, de aceite de oliva
250ml de leche de coco
500ml de agua
sal y pimienta a gusto

Como hacer la sopa:

Hornea la calabaza a 180C unos 50 minutos. Yo la puse en la fuente con el lado de la piel hacia arriba, así se hornea sin quemar la pulpa y tiene mejor sabor.

En un olla onda, ponemos la mantequilla y el aceite de oliva a derretir sobre fuego lento. Agregamos los ajos, el apio y la cebolla y pochamos unos 8-10 minutos hasta que esten tiernos. Añadimos los tomatoes y pochamos unos 3 minutos mas para que se mezclen los sabores.

A continuación, echamos la pulpa o carne de la media calabaza dentro de la olla. Le damos una vuelta con una cuchara de madera para mezclar bien. Añadimos la leche de coco y volvemos a mover bien.

Retiramos del fuego y con una mini-pimer hacemos un puré. Esto se puede hacer dentro de la misma olla. Volvemos a poner sobre fuego lento y agregamos el agua, la hierbas de la Provenza, y salpimentamos a gusto. Dejamos que se caliente bien para servir.

Podemos acompañar la sopa con algo de guarnición, como un huevo duro picado, unas gambas salteadas o algún otro marisco.

Roasted Pumpkin Vegetable Potage

We are currently travelling through parts of Europe. My husband has to be in Austria a few days and asked me to come along so we could visit family and friends and maybe squeese in a day of early-season skiing as well. (The snow conditions in Austria are supposed to be perfect for skiing… we’ll see.)

So, once again, we are on one of our crazy road-trips, which always turn out to be a lot of fun and which we love. We usually end up seeing a number of cities and sometimes even can fit in a visit to a museum or a tourist site. On this trip thus far, we visited family in Maasland and managed to see a lovely museum. Maasland is a village in the province of South Holland and it has a long history, since about 925AD. It was also an important area, where Willem van Oranje, in 1574, finally defeated the Spaniards with an interesting strategy of flooding the lands. Most of the Netherlands is below sea level, and this area in particular is very low. One can see the old dikes and polders, part of the engineering system of sea and water management for which the Netherlands is famous.

The museum in the center of town is an old farmer’s house with 19th century period furniture. The house has a storefront filled with replicas of lots of traditional stock of Dutch candies, cacao, cigarettes, pharmaceutical drugs, cleaning utensils, cooking oils, and canned foodstuffs. They still sell some varieties of sugary sweets by weight and there were a number of children lining up to get their few euros worth of treats. I remembered my youth in Sevilla with my cousins where we used to go the corner kiosk to buy a handful of candies and chewing gums for only 5 pesetas!

The house also has a cellar, where the original family made homemade butter, buttermilk and cheeses. It’s very interesting to see all of the wooden and iron equipment used for the process of making these dairy products. What a lot of work all that was, but how healthy to make it at home! There are still many farmers who make and sell their own dairy products. In fact, our family shared with us some farmer’s cheese they had purchased especially for our visit. The taste and texture are unique and so wonderful.

My favourite part of the house was the kitchen of course. It was stocked with all kinds of beautiful enamelware.. all of which I wanted to take home! There were the traditional Dutch ovens, which can be stacked on top of each other, ladles and spoons, pots and pans, a poffertjes pan (something like “full” pancakes), teapot, coffeepot…

As we continue our trip, we are having a short break today so my husband can visit his dentist and I’m taking advantage of this time to write this post and share the recipe with you.

On Friday, the day we left London, I made this soup with some leftover roasted pumpkin from this recipe, so we could have something warm in our tummies for lunch and to hold us over until we arrived in France for dinner. It’s very easy to make and is a nice soup to serve as a starter for a full meal. You can use other vegetables, depending on your taste and what you may have on hand.

Enjoy!

ROASTED PUMPKIN VEGETABLE POTAGE

Ingredients, makes about 5 cups:

2 cups roasted pumpkin meat (I used butternut squash at roasted in the oven at 180C (350F) for about 40 minutes)
3 cups filtered water
2 leeks, finely sliced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 medium red onions, julienne or chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3-4 tablespoons duck fat
bacon bits or jamón serrano bits

Method:

In a pot over low heat, melt the duck fat and poach the onions until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, excluding the pumpkin, and the spices. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add one cup of the filtered water and the pumpkin meat and mix well. Add the remaining two cups of water, mix well, and season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Warm and serve with pieces of bacon or jamón serrano.

*****

SOPA/POTAJE DE CALABAZA AL HORNO CON VERDURAS

Ingredientes, hace como 5 tazas de caldo :

2 tazas, como unos 500ml de carne de calabaza previamente hecha al horno (a 180C unos 40 minutos)
750ml de agua
2 puerros, cortados en rodajas finas
6-8 tomates cherry, cortados por la mitad
3 cebollas medianas, rojas, cortadas en juliana
4 pencas de apio, en rodajas finas
3 dientes de ajo, en rodajas a lo largo
1 cucharadita de hierbas de la Provenza
1/2 cucharadita de cúrcuma
salt y pimienta negra, a gusto
3-4 cucharadas grandes de grasa de pato
taquitos de beicon o jamón serrano, de guarnición

Como hacer la sopa:

En una olla sobre fuego lento, derrite la grasa de pato y pocha las cebollas, como unos 6-8 minutos, hasta que esten tiernas. Añade el resto de las verduras, excepto la calabaza, y las especias. Cuece hasta que esten las verduras tiernas. Agrega una taza de agua (250ml) y la calabaza y remueve bien. Ahora agregale el resto del agua, mezclando todo bien, y sazona a gusto con sal y pimienta negra. Calienta la sopa y sirve la con taquitos de beicon o jamón.

Lamb Roast with Pumpkin, Apple & Chestnut “Rough” Mash

I’m finding that taking food pictures of dinner in the Autumn and Winter in London is quite a challenge. By 15:45, it starts to get dark and by 16:30, it’s basically nighttime. The early darkness is annoying for our biological clocks, and alters our mood and sleeping habits.

For a food blogger, there’s the added issue of planning or trying to cook a meal around the small window of light hours. I am an awful planner and making dinner at lunch time during the week just to take a picture is not going to happen. However, during the week, many of my more elaborate meals are prepared at night.

Therefore, if I want to share these recipes with my readers, I have to make due with the poor lighting or create fake lighting… this last option, I’m still working on perfecting.

In the meantime, I’m sharing this recipe with pictures from breakfast. Yes, breakfast. I ate leftovers from dinner as my breakfast, something I love to do since going Paleo! It’s a quick and easy way to incorporate some healthy, saturated fats with which to start off my day.

The question today is, what do I make myself for lunch? 😉

LAMB ROAST WITH PUMPKIN, APPLE & CHESTNUT “ROUGH” MASH

Ingredients, for 2:

1 kg leg of lamb
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 800g)
3 medium apples, peeled and cubed
10-12 chestnuts, peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon ground rosemary
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
zest of 1-2 lemons

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C (390F). Toss the cubed pumpkin, apples and chestnuts together. Place them on the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Rinse the leg of lamb and place on top of the pumpkin mixture. With a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic. Add the rosemary, sea salt, pepper, zest and olive oil and mix well. Coat the leg of lamb on both sides with the rosemary mixture. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes for medium done or about 15 minutes longer for less pink. About half way through, take the roast out of the oven, and remove the lamb, carefully to not burn yourself. With a spoon, toss the pumpkin mixture and replace the leg of lamb, with the un-cooked side up. Continue baking until done.

*****

PIERNA DE CORDERO AL HORNO CON BASE DE CALABAZA, MANZANAS Y CASTAÑAS

Ingredientes, para 2 comensales:

1 kg pierna de cordero
1/2 calabaza tipo “butternut squash”, como 800g, pelada y cortada a taquitos
3 manzanas medianas, peladas y cortadas a taquitos
10-12 castañas frescas, peladas y cortadas por la mitad
4 dientes de ajo, pelados
1 cucharada grande de romero molido
1 cucharada grande de sal gorda
1 cucharadita de pimienta negra
1/2 taza de aceite de oliva
ralladura de 1 o 2 limones

Como hacer el cordero al horno:

Precalienta el horno a 200C. Mezcla los trozos de calabaza, manzana y las castañas y pon todo en el fondo del recipiente que vaya a ir al horno. Enjuaga la pierna de cordero y coloca la encima de la calabaza. En un mortero, machaca los ajos. Añade el romero, la pimienta, la sal, la ralladura de limón y el aceite de oliva. Mezcla todo bien y embadurna ambos lados de la pierna de cordero con esta mezcla. Hornear como una hora y 15 minutos o una hora y media. A mitad de tiempo, saca el cordero del horno. Retira la pierna del recipiente, con cuidado para no quemarte y ponla en un plato. A continuación, con una cuchara de palo, dale la vuelta a la calabaza y demás. Vuelve a incorporar la pierna de cordero en el recipiente, pero esta vez del lado aún no hecho. Termina horneando.

Limoncello Pumpkin Soup

I love it when the lack of ingredients provokes a stroke of creativity. This happened to me when making this soup. I was looking for my white wine, of which I didn’t have any left, and saw the limoncello. And it just seemed like a cool flavour to add to this soup. Some friends of ours, who used to live in Italy, brought over a couple of bottles of limoncello when they visited us in Germany. We obviously are not drinkers (since that was over two years ago), and much less of liquors, so both bottles are almost intact.

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We keep the pretty bottles in the fridge, as it’s supposed to be served chilled. I sort of see them every day, and they are almost like a decoration inside my fridge. The limoncello is made from lemons and has a beautiful, sunny yellow colour that seems unreal. When opened, the aroma that permeates from the liqour is both refreshing and delicate; but don’t be fooled, it has quite a punch when you drink it straight.

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However, in the soup is was undetectable, although I think it may have enhanced the overall flavour, since it turned out delicious. Of course, you can substitute with a white wine, which was my original idea.

It’s very easy to make, especially if you’re in a hurry. Just make sure you either roast the pumpkin first; or I guess canned pumpkin could also work. I garnished it with some finely sliced spring onions and crumbled Stilton cheese; however a little bit of lemon zest would probably bring out the limoncello flavours and be a nice contrast to the pumpkin.

Limoncello Pumpkin Soup
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
Serves 3-4.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin meat
  • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, butter or fat of preference
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup limoncello, or white wine
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • spring onions, finely sliced, for garnishing
  • Stilton cheese, crumbled, for garnishing and extra flavour (optional, but very tasty)
Instructions
  1. Roast your pumpkin in the oven for about 45 minutes at 180C (350F). I split mine in half and place them in an ovenproof dish. Facing up or down really doesn’t matter much.
  2. In a pot over low heat, poach the onions, garlic and celery with the olive oil or fat of choice, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the limoncello or white wine and reduce, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the pumpkin meat, giving it a good stir.
  5. Pour in the filtered water, and cook about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, and with an immersion blender, very roughly blend to puree a bit, but leaving chunks of the celery and other vegetables.
  7. (Alternatively you could puree the pumpkin with the water first and leave the rest of the vegetables whole.)
  8. Return to the stove and heat until warm to eat.
  9. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
  10. To serve, garnish with spring onions, Stitlon cheese or whatever you desire. The cheese, if you do dairy, adds a delicious flavour, as does the spring onion.

 

Butternut Squash, Fig & Serrano Hash

I have to admit that this was impromptu decision to make this recipe… I had promised my readers to once again tackle the pumpkin fudge brownies, which I’m working to perfect. But sometimes I really am not into sweets; and making them means eating them and I still have a bunch of the first batch left. By the way, they are very fudgey, not cakey, which I’m really liking. Nonetheless, the pumpkin layer needs work to intensify the flavour. So I will make it again, but possibly not until next week…

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In the meantime, I’ve used up my butternut squash for this hash recipe! We bought some deliciously ripe figs the other day and aside from eating them, I just wanted to create a recipe. This hash can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I ate it as accompaniment to lamb chops… but the flavours go well with red meat, game and eggs of course!

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I still have more figs… maybe I will indulge in a sweet treat after all.. hmm it’s tempting for the challenge alone! Freezing is always on option I suppose. 😉

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(part of my mise en place)

IMG_9782

(lamb chops with the pumpkin hash)

Fig, Jamon Serrano, & Butternut Squash Hash
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Serves 2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 small (800g/approx 1.7 lbs) butternut squash
  • 2 ripe figs, quartered or cut in eighths if large
  • 2 medium leeks, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons lard
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
  • 1/3 cup jamon serrano, diced (bacon bits can be used instead)
  • freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Peel and cube the butternut squash. Spread out evenly onto an ovenproof dish.
  3. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, no longer. Set aside.
  4. In a skillet over low heat, melt the lard with the pumpkin pieces already in the pan.
  5. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. But be careful as the pumpkin cooks not too mash it.
  6. Add the leeks, figs, rosemary and thyme, and cook for 1 minute, then add the jamon serrano pieces.
  7. Cook for 2 minutes longer and turn off heat. Allow to sit about a few minutes so the flavours become more intense.
  8. If needed, adjust for salt. (I didn’t add any because the jamon serrano can result saltier when cooked.)
  9. Sprinkle with a few turns of the pepper grinder and serve.

 

Roasted Pumpkin-Carrot Soup

What happens to pumpkin that is about 1 month old? not much really.. it’s still usable and edible! At least mine was. Before our USA/Mexico trips, I had cleaned out the fridge and frozen some vegetables in preparation. But some other things I had left out, like the butternut squash on the counter and carrots in the fridge. The carrots were limp, but still good enough for making soup. So, that’s what I did.

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I roasted both the squash and the carrots together; and I used half the squash to make waffles (a recipe I want to remake before I share) and used the other half for the soup.

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The curry mix can be used for any of your favourite recipes, and if you don’t like the seasoning, simply use your preferred spices to add flavour to this soup.

Enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin-Carrot Soup
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1/2 smallish butternut squash (or 1 heaping cup roasted pumpkin meat)
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups filtered water (or 3 cups water and no milk)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons curry mix*
  • cooked bacon bits or jamon serrano pieces
  • cooked asparagus tips
  • drizzle of olive oil for garnishing
  • For the Curry Spice Mix:
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half and place in cut-side up in an oven proof dish.
  3. Rinse the carrots, and without peeling, place next to the squash.
  4. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until squash is tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to be able to handle.
  6. Remove seeds from the squash and remove the meat. For the soup, you’ll need 1 heaping cup of pumpkin meat (or a little more if you prefer).
  7. Peel the roasted carrots by carefully tearing off the skin with a knife. Cut both tips off, as well.
  8. Place the pumpkin meat, carrots and 1 cup coconut milk in a blender or food processor (or you can puree using an immersion blender as well).
  9. Puree until smooth. Add 2 cups of water and mix well.
  10. Add the seasoning and spice mix and stir until all is well incorporated.
  11. Place the soup in a pan and warm up over low to medium heat.
  12. In the meantime, cook some bacon / pork back rashers. Cut them into pieces. (If using jamon serrano, simply cut up some pieces, enough for the number of servings.)
  13. To plate: pour the soup in the bowls, sprinkle with some bacon bits/jamon serrano pieces and the asparagus tips, and drizzle with olive oil.
  14. For the Curry Mix:
  15. If your spices are “whole”, simply grind them up in a coffee grinder.
  16. Mix all the spices together for the curry.

 

Puree of Butternut Squash & Chestnuts

For the Bison au Poivre and Caramelised Leeks recipes accompanying this dish, please click on the link.

Additional note: I had some left over puree, so for breakfast, I scrambled an egg with about 1/2 cup of the puree and topped it with some raw, minced garlic and crumbled blue cheese on top. It was delicious! Not sure what I would call the “dish”… but it’s a nice option for a breakfast meal too!

Puree of Pumpkin & Chestnuts
Recipe Type: Easy
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash or small pumpkin of choice
  • 200g precooked whole chestnuts
  • 400-500ml coconut milk
  • 4-5 leaves of fresh sage, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, ground
  • 4-5 sprigs saffron
  • 1 teaspoon curcuma/turmeric
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel the butternut squash or pumpkin.
  2. Cut the squash into small chunks.
  3. Place the chunks and the chestnuts in a medium sized pot and add the coconut milk, which should cover the vegetable and nuts. (Adjust the amount of coconut milk according to the size of the butternut squash/pumpkin used.)
  4. Over low to medium heat, cook about 20 minutes until the squash is tender.
  5. Add the spices and sea salt, to taste, and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
  6. Pure with a hand masher and serve immediately.

 

Butternut Squash Cottage Pie

Yesterday was one of those days, where you take something to thaw out in the morning and then want to make something completely different with it than originally planned. I put out some minced meat, thinking it would be easy to make some meatballs or hamburgers, since I’m working all day on some design projects, which are soon due.

Well, I ended up spending most of the day in the kitchen instead, making a cauliflower and kale soup, some chicken liver pate, and this incredibly easy and tasteful dish! The British are not particularly known for their cuisine… but this is a twist on a classic recipe.

Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie (when it’s made with lamb instead of beef) has been known since the late 1700s, when the potato was introduced as an edible crop, which was affordable to the poor. Traditionally, the pie is made to use leftover roasted meats, and there are variations in most European countries. Historically, mashed potatoes were used to line the pie dish and as a pie crust to the meat mixture inside. Interestingly, the first mention of “cottage-pye” in the UK was in 1791, when the Reverend James Woodford refers to eating it with “rost beef” for dinner.

Our culinary cultures are strongly influenced by our history, what is locally available, what a conqueror or invader brings to our land, what our ancestors brought back from other lands, and how we prepare and eat our food…for me, it’s always so interesting and so much fun to learn from other countries and enjoy foods from around the world. I hope you enjoy that I also share this passion with you in my culinary adventures!

For the original inspiration, please check out Nigel Slater’s recipe.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH COTTAGE PIE

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, about 1.5 kilos* (another delicious alternative: 1 small cauliflower + 1 small swede + 5-6 roasted garlic cloves)**
  • 750g minced beef
  • 2 large leeks, using the white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, deveined and sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, unpeeled, cubed or diced
  • 5 white mushrooms, cubed
  • 2 smoked bacon back rashers, or about 1/4 cup bacon, cut into squares (preferably nitrate free)
  • butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 450ml filtered water + 100ml filtered water
  • 4 teaspoons arrowroot powder

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Cut the butternut squash in half and place in an oven proof dish.
  2. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until done.
  3. In the meantime, clean and prepare the vegetables.
  4. Cut the bacon back rashers into small squares.
  5. In a large frying pan, soften the leeks in some butter (I used about 1 tablespoon).
  6. Add the bacon back rashers and cook thoroughly without burning.
  7. Add the celery, carrots, and zucchini. Sauté until al-dente, about 4 minutes.
  8. Add the minced meat and cook until brown.
  9. Add the mushrooms.
  10. Now add the sea salt, thyme and pepper to taste, and about 350ml of filtered water.
  11. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Add the arrowroot powder (dissolved in some broth) with the remaining water and simmer an additional 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Stir occasionally.
  13. Once the meat and sauce are done, set aside.
  14. Scoop out the meat from the squash with a spoon. In a bowl, mash the butternut squash with a potato masher and some butter to taste. (I used about 1 tablespoon.)
  15. In an oven proof dish, pour the meat sauce and spread evenly. (Make sure the dish is not too large that you don’t have enough mashed squash to cover all of the meat, or that the layer of meat ends up too “thin”.)
  16. Top with the mashed butternut squash. Pull a fork or spoon across the surface to create peaks.
  17. Sprinkle with some ground thyme.
  18. Bake at 180C, for 40 minutes until the top is crisp.

*If you prefer potatoes, use the same amount and mash them with butter, as well. Other options are turnip and parsnip mash, but this may be a bit sweeter.

**For another alternative: use 1 small head of cauliflower and 1 small swede. Clean, cut both vegetables and steam until soft. You’ll have to steam the swede longer than the cauliflower. Mash with a potato masher or in a food processor the cauliflower and swede, together with 1-2 tablespoons of butter plus 5-6 roasted cloves of garlic. Season with sea salt before placing over the ground meat mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Beef & Butternut Squash Stew

Before leaving on our trip, I made sure our fridge was clean and mostly empty, except for a few vegetables that I knew would still be fresh when we returned. One of these vegetables is butternut squash, which I actually didn’t leave in the fridge and with which I cook a lot during the fall and winter months, as one can see in previous recipes.

Our vacation was a lot of fun and spent in the best company, my parents. 😉 Okay, I’m a bit biased, but we did have a great time. We enjoyed mostly warm and sunny weather in Florida and even had the opportunity to include some sports, beach and sightseeing. So, arriving on Monday to a chillier and very grey London was somewhat depressing. But one of the things that makes me happy is my kitchen and cooking… so I’m at it already.

Yesterday, I baked some “sourdough” grainfree bread, which is totally amazing (click here for the recipe) and made this stew for dinner.

BEEF & BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW

Ingredients, for 4

  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 kilo stewing beef, cut into 5cm (1inch) chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of Chinese spinach (optional)
  • 2 celery stalks (branch, not full bunch), chopped
  • 1/2 large butternut squash (approx 600-700g), cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into chunks
  • a handful of fresh sage leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon pimenton (or paprika)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • sea salt and black ground pepper, to taste
  • 12-15 “canned” artichoke hearts (we buy ours in Spain, and they come in a glass jar, not a can), cut in halves
  • zest of one lemon

Process

In a large pot, add the olive oil, garlic and onions. Over medium heat, cook until the onion starts to become transparent, but not loose its colour. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Add the white wine and cook for 3 minutes. Add water and remaining vegetables and spices. Simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the meat and squash are tender. (If you want a thicker sauce, add 3 cups of water instead.)

Remove from heat. Add the artichoke hearts and lemon zest and allow to sit 5-7 minutes before serving.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup & Dukkah Oil

Butternut squash are readily available in the store where we tend to purchase our groceries. So, I usually have one or two on hand in my kitchen. I love to make soup with pumpkin or squash, put them into a dessert, or even eat them by themselves roasted with some olive oil and sauteed garlic.

Today I was searching for a slightly different style of soup to make and came across this recipe from Nami Nami, which intrigued me because it’s made with almonds, a favourite of mine in baking. It has a unique texture due to the ground almonds and a very pleasant combination of flavours with the roasted almonds, cilantro and pomegranate accompaniment.

 

ROASTED PUMPKIN SOUP WITH DUKKAH OIL

Ingredients

For dukkah oil:

  • A handful of raw, blanched almonds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • additional olive oil

For the soup:

  • 1 large butternut squash, split in half
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 50g ground almonds (original recipe calls for 100g)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
  • pomegranate seeds
  • fresh cilantro leaves

Process

Preheat oven to 180C. Place the pumpkin halves, onions, garlic and sage leaves if you have them in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove the flesh from the squash skin (sometimes the skin will peel off easily from the flesh, which is less work than using a spoon to scoop out the flesh).

In the meantime, for the dukkah oil:

In a saucepan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the raw, blanched almonds and spices. Cook until the almonds are golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Then place in a mortar and with the pestle ground until you have a coarse mixture. Add 1 or 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and blend. Set aside.

When the vegetables are cool, place them in a blender. Add the ground almonds and chicken stock and puree. Pour the pumpkin puree into a saucepan, bringing to a slow simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the soup is smooth and slightly thickened. Season to taste.

To serve, ladle the soup into the bowls. Spoon some dukkah oil on top, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

 

 

 

 

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