Vegan stuffed butternut squash
- 2 small butternut squash
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 50 g pecans
- 30 g kale (I used home grown cavalo nero), ribs removed and leaves finely chopped
- 20 g dried apricots, finely chopped
- 10 ml soy sauce
- 5 g dried porcini, crushed to a fine powder using a pestle and mortar
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 10 g gram (chickpea) flour
- 10 ml extra virgin olive oil
for the cranberry sauce
- 250 g fresh cranberries
- juice of a lemon
- 150 g maple syrup
- 1 tsp juniper berries, crushed
- For the cranberry sauce, tip the cranberries into a saucepan and add the orange juice, maple syrup and crushed juniper berries. Place over a medium heat and stir until it reaches simmering point. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for a further ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C (325°F, gas mark 3). Place the pecans on a flat baking tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, by which time they will have browned slightly and will be giving off a delicious aroma. Set aside to cool.
- Cut each butternut squash in half across the middle at the fattest point. Cut a 2- 3cm cm thick slice out from either side of the initial cut. Use a pastry cutter to remove the centre of each slice, leaving a fleshy ring. Put these butternut squash rings into a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. The remaining pieces of the butternut squash can be peeled and chopped and added to the baking tray, to be turned into soup. Place the baking tray in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the butternut squash is just tender but holding its shape. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.
- Pour 10 ml olive oil into a large pan and place over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables have become soft. Add the garlic, kale, dried sage and sea salt and continue to cook and stir for a further 3-4 minutes until the kale has wilted. Remove from the heat and tip into a mixing bowl. Finely chop the roast pecans and add them to the mixing bowl, along with the smoked paprika, powdered porcini, chopped apricots and gram flour. Mix thoroughly.
- Lightly oil a flat baking tray and place the four squash rings on it. Generously fill the centre of each ring with the pecan and sage mixture.
- Place the stuffed butternut rings in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy. Serve accompanied by the cranberry and juniper sauce.
Recipe & photo from Steve Dent AKA The Circus Gardener’s Kitchen