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On our allotments, my husband and I have not yet reached the season for planting pumpkins and squashes, as we have not yet had them for that long. But that does not stop us having a superfluity of them, kindly gifted by fellow allotmenteers. We open our shed door often to find some delight left for us. Squashes and pumpkins abound at the moment.
I thought I'd share with you my favourite recipe this week - with variations depending on what glut of herbs you have! Or veggies.
- Pumpkin/Squash/other veggies (1 average sized squash/1 small pumpkin)
- Onions (or shallots) (the equivalent of the bottom of your oven proof dish)
- Garlic (3 cloves chopped)
- Dates (as many as you fancy depending on how sweet your tooth is!)
- Add some lemon slices if you fancy. I like lemon with dates.
- Chillis (3 chopped - this makes for a FIERY dish - leave out if you don't like spice}
- Rosemary (or Sage or another strong flavoured herb - it must be strong flavoured to stand up to the chillis and the garlic) (3 teaspoons chopped)
- Breadcrumbs (twice the amount of the onions you used)
- Butter for frying (have LOTS available) or oil.
How much you need of each depends on how much of a glut you need to use up! So this is a proportioned recipe - increase in proportion if you need to.
If you are using the average sized Butternut Squash or small Pumpkin, this is what you do:
- Turn oven on to 180C.
- Peel and cut your chosen vegetable into small teaspoon/bite sized pieces. Let's say that is to fill about 3/4 of your oven proof dish. Cover them with cold water in a pan, bring to the boil, and then let them simmer for about 5 minutes (they do not need to be cooked but it helps if they are on their way.) Drain well (pat them dry with a clean tea towel) and then set to one side.
- In a pan, gently fry enough onions equivalent to a layer the bottom of your chosen oven proof dish. Fry in a little butter. If you don't have butter, oil is fine. Then add your Squash pieces into that pan and coat the pieces with the onions and the butter mixture. Add your dates at this stage. And your lemon slices if using them. Remove the whole lot from the pan and place it in your oven proof dish.
- Into your now empty frying pan, add more butter - LOTS. Because that butter is eventually going to be used to coat breadcrumbs. Add about 3 chopped chillis, 3 chopped garlic cloves, and 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh Rosemary. When using strong herbs, such as Rosemary or Sage, keep the amount roughly equal to the amount of garlic cloves and chillies (a great triumvirate). Fry this mixture gently (keep stirring it, do not let it catch on the bottom) for about 5 minutes.
- Then add breadcrumbs. The amount to add would be about double the onions you chopped. The breadcrumbs should be mixed with the chilli, herb, garlic, butter mix.
- Then put the contents of your frying pan on top of the Squash/Pumpkin/Veggies in your oven proof dish. So you have a spicy breadcrumb topping. Cover with a lid/some foil. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Check. The breadcrumbs should be nice and crispy but NOT burnt... The squash/pumpkin/veggies should be nicely done. If you want an even crispier topping, cook for a final 5 minutes with the lid off.