I’ve been meaning to try this for ages, so here you go.
1 cup barley (you should strictly speaking, use pearl, but I used what was in the cupboard, and it was fine)
1 butternut squash, peeled (ugh) and diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 cups water
1 chicken stock cube (or use stock, if you have it handy)
1 shallot, finely sliced
some thyme, fresh or dried
about ½ small glass white wine (or cider would work, or vermouth)
some feta cheese (optional)
Soften the shallot and garlic in a little oil or butter, add the thyme, (or sage, in our case, as Pete had a mad moment and picked the wrong herb from the garden), and then the barley. Cook until the grains are toasted.
Put that in a slow cooker on high, add the squash and the water/stock cube, bit of salt and black pepper. Leave well alone for 4-5 hours. At that point, I thought it looked a bit dry, which is when I added the wine, and ⅓ of a block of feta cut into cubes, and left it for another hour or so.
Feel free to garnish with flat leaf parsley; having sallied up the road to buy a huge bunch (because the Indian and Continental don’t sell small ones), I completely forgot, so will have to think of something else to use it up.
Very nice indeed., and a great alternative to a rice risotto for those of us who aren’t supposed to eat many carbs. Um.
This was supposed to feed three; it fed two greedy folk, with a bit left over, which went into the soup pot.
I love butternut squash. It has a lovely texture, and works in so many things: risotto, roast veg, Thai currys, soup, etc. But there’s no denying that it’s a faff to deal with due to the peel. So I did a little experiment.
I wanted some soup to come home to on Saturday, and astonishingly, there was no mongrel soup on the go (which I must address). And there was a squash in the fridge. I cut the top off the squash, and then chopped the rest in half, scooped out the seeds, and put it in the medium slow cooker with about ½” of wine (all there was left in that bottle, although obviously in this house, other bottles were available). I then added about 1″ further of water. Switched it on, went away. Returned after a couple of hours and added a diced and peeled Bramley, because it struck me that it would work rather well.
In the small slow cooker, I put a big onion, chopped, three cloves of garlic, and some chopped sage leaves from the garden. Half of this mixture went to make sage and onion tear and share bread (which I baked in the Remoska when we got home),
After four, or maybe five, hours, the squash seemed well cooked, so I scooped a bit out, and lo – even the skin was really soft. So I put it, the apple, the onion and sage mix, into the food processor and blitzed it all. Returned it to the pot with a bit more water, tasted it, and decided it needed some toasted cumin, which Pete obligingly provided. Switched the slow cooker onto medium, and it was all done and dusted when we got home, just half an hour to bake the bread. Splendid.
And then …
I had planned to make Anjum Anand’s Gujarati lamb on Sunday, and had removed half a shoulder of the relevant beast from the freezer. I usually add a squash to this, because the texture is so nice, but there was a bowlful of soup left and it seemed rude not to use that instead. So instead we had a kind of use it up Gujarati lamb, which went like this.
one shoulder of lamb, browned on all sides.
one onion, finely diced
some garlic (I used about six cloves) and a big piece of ginger, made into a paste with some water
a couple of handfuls of dessicated coconut
ground cumin, coriander, turmeric
some chilli flakes
leftover butternut squash soup (I accept that most of you won’t have this to hand)
some chickpeas (I always used dried, so had them cooking in the small slow cooker while this was going on)
lemon juice – about a tablespoon’s worth
salt and black pepper
Soften the onion in some vegetable oil, then add the garlic/ginger paste and fry for about three minutes. Tip in the spices (quantities here are very individual – we like our foot spicy). Fry a bit longer. Put the lamb in the slow cooker, tip the onion mix in, add the soup, and a little water if required – I wanted it to come about half way up the meat. I normally add sweet potatoes, but mine had gone mouldy (oh the shame).
Cooked it for about six hours (adding the previously cooked chickpeas about two hours from the end) and it was just beautiful. We gorged on it, and there was plenty left for today’s lunch. And indeed there’s still a fair bit of the sauce left, so I shall be adding red lentils and veg to that, and making it into this week’s mongrel soup.
So there you go – slow cook your squash, and no need to peel. Win win.
Two small papaya pear squash in the veg box this week. We chopped and peeled them both on Saturday, and one is in a bowl in the fridge, with some chopped red onion (because Pete chopped a huge one, and it was way too much).
Boiled the risotto squash for about 12 minutes until it was soft. Drained and reserved the water. Sautéd the onion in some olive oil until it was soft. The squash water was just about exactly a pint, which was handy; remember – 1 pint water, 5 oz risotto rice for two people. I put a goodly pinch of Marigold bouillon there to give it a bit of a boost.
Ladled in stock and rice in instalments, added squash and sage when we were nearly done, added cubed feta at the end. Scoffed.
Then we had a blackberry and apple cobbler. Nom nom nom.
Peeled the squash and cut it into cubes. Chopped an onion roughly, ditto some garlic, and a rasher of back bacon. All in a frying pan with some olive oil, and some oregano from our herb garden.
Put a lid on the pan, and left for about 20 minutes.
Then cooked some 8 minute fusilli, drained it and put it with the vegetables (thus giving the veg about 30 minutes in all, to get the squash into that gorgeous disintegrating phase), and half a block of feta. Stirred it all about till the feta melted, then served in bowls.
Using up: butternut squash, green beans, courgette
This is vaguely based on a recipe I saw on Come Dine With Me, a television programme here in the UK. I was very struck by the potato element, which is:
One potato, boiled then cut into dice and deep fried. Set aside for now.
Made a paste by blitzing a chopped onion, 3 cloves of garlic, about a square inch of ginger, a stalk of lemongrass, a dried chilli, half a teaspoon of salt, and a tablespooon each of lime juice and olive oil in a blender, and pureéd until it was transformed into a smooth paste.
Peeled the butternut squash that had been lurking in the fridge for a couple of weeks, removed and discarded the seeds, looked at it and realised it was *way* too much for this curry and returned half to the fridge. Watch this space to see what I decide to do with the rest! Chopped the flesh of the remaining half into 1/2 inch cubes. The green beans had been topped and tailed on Friday, and I chopped the courgette into smallish chunks too.
Put the paste into a large pan or wok and fried it gently for a couple of minutes, stirring all the while.
Added the veg, and stirred them about a bit, to coat them with the paste, then hurled in a tin of coconut milk. Put a lid on it, and simmered it for about 20 minutes, then uncovered it and cooked for about another 10. I added the fried spud a few minutes before the end (crystal ball job).
Ate accompanied by noodles cooked with a few drops of sesame oil. I cannot begin to tell you how nice it was – it was ambrosial, utterly lovely. The squash had started to break down, and had a texture that I can hardly describe.
This made enough to feed the two of us, with another meal’s worth gone into the freezer.