butternut squash roast

For those who have just learned they are hosting a vegetarian this Christmas, here is an option for a turkey-alternative that’s slightly less work than a Nut Wellington. (Though bear in mind also the option of the brie and cranberry quiche.)

This is delicious with some cranberry sauce, whether at a Christmas occasion or just a nice normal dinner. To make it really schmanzy, tie the squash up with ribbons and carve as a centrepiece.

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(serves 2 (if normal dinner) or 4 (with all the usual Christmas trimmings)

1 large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
100g lentils (puy or otherwise)
100g fresh cranberries (or homemade cranberry sauce)
2 stalks fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
2 stalks fresh thyme, leaves stripped
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
150ml red wine
200ml vegetable stock
80g fresh spinach, finely chopped
50g pistachios, roughly chopped

  1. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush or spray with a little oil, then bake for 30-40 minutes at 180oC until the flesh is tender enough to scoop out with a spoon. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the lentils, cranberries, herbs, nutmeg, wine, and stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and lower to a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  4. Scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash, being careful not to tear the skin. Add to the pan of lentils and mash into the mixture. Season.
  5. Stir in the spinach and pistachios, then spoon into both halves of the squash. Place one half on top of the other, then tie with string every 3-4 centimetres.
  6. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes at 180oC.



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