Butternut squash is a vegetable that is packed full of flavour, and can be roasted with herbs or turned into a tasty squash soup.
There are so many ways to cook butternut squash, but here are just a couple of the best. Firstly, lets look at how to prepare it.
Preparing Butternut Squash
Start by chopping of the top and bottom, as you would do with most oblong vegetables. Then cut it in half, just at the join. Using a sharp knife, remove the outside by cutting down the outer 0.5 cm of the squash. Use a spoon to remove the seeded part of the squash. Then dice.
You can then freeze this, if you want, for future use in a plastic ziplock bag.
Take some cut butternut squash, some diced carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes (yams), parsnips, or whatever root vegetables you have (this is a particularly good recipe for using up what’s left in your weekly veg box), and place them in a slow cooker part full with stock.
Fry up some diced beef with two cloves of chopped garlic, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Pour this into the slow cooker. Use some mixed beans and lentils for an added health kick to the stew. Leave the veg to stew in the slow cooker for the whole day (12 hours) in order for it to thicken and the flavours to intensify.
Stew is a very personal, family-orientated dinner, so you should really experiment with what ingredients you add to make the dish “yours”. For example, in a wintry stew, make it thicker by adding a flour/butter paste (mash together 1tbsp butter and 1tbsp flour with your hands, then simple add) or you could use some gravy granules to thicken and enrich it.
This meal goes fantastically well, when followed by a good helping of homemade dessert, like pumpkin pie or apple crumble.
Add prepared root vegetables to a roasting tray or tin. Add some fresh tomatoes cut into quarters, and a few sausages.
Prepare a marinade with olive oil, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Drench the vegetables with the marinade, being careful to coat all of these. Put into a hot oven, 180c, 350 degrees f, gas mark 4 for approximately 45 mins to 1 hour, or until the vegetables are golden. Turn halfway through cooking to ensure all veg are crispy and cooked.
Serve with a green side salad, of rocket, spinach and watercress.
Butternut Squash Soup
Cut a butternut squash in half, and scoop out the seeds. Place the halves cut-side up in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 180c, until a knife can easily pierce the flesh. Once it has cooked, let it cool for a while, then scoop out the flesh.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pan on a medium heat. Add one diced onion, and soften. Add a bay leaf, then place in the squash. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Then add 3 cups/1.25 pints chicken broth (or bouillon stock). Simmer for 15 minutes.
Take out the bay leaf. Transfer to a food processor in batches, and mix until creamy and thick. If you choose, pour in 1 tbsp cream, and season to taste.