Super, scrummy, seasonal, sensational squash. There are a huge variety of this wonderful vegetable around at the moment, and they look so damn weird! They come in all shapes and sizes and can be multi-coloured too. Many make the perfect bowl in which to serve stews, soups and other autumn warmers. The first time I came across the squash bowl was at an autumn party, the weather was still clear enough to sit outside but it was definitely getting chilly. So with hats and coats and gloves, and a hot bowl of soup, we sat outside in the garden being gently warmed from the inside out!
I made this for dinner last night, the captain wondered whether I had been a little bored for such a marvelous looking dinner, but in actual fact it really didn’t take that long to put together.
Some kind of squash that has a big enough cavity inside for a good quantity of stuffing. Be creative, I used Acorn Squash as they are nice and sweet.
For the stuffing (per squash): About a cup of cooked rice, half a leek sliced, handful of bacon lardons (optional), handful of spinach or other robust green leaf sliced, glass white wine, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper, butter, olive oil.
Slice the top off the squash and retain. Disembowel it, as in pull out it’s innards (great with kids…), getting rid of all the seeds and squishy bits. Depending on the type, you can toast the seeds with salt and butter for a scrummy nibble, unfortunately it didn’t work with these squash. Swirl some olive oil around the flesh inside and then sprinkle with salt and thyme. Replace the lid then put in the oven at 180 C for ten minutes. Fry the leeks and bacon (if using) in a little butter, once its cooked slosh in the wine and allow it to reduce a little before putting the chopped spinach on top to wilt. Stir in the cooked rice (good for using up leftovers from curry!), fry for a few minutes more. Take the squash out the oven and pack in the rice mix. Put another knob of butter on top and then replace the lid. Return to the oven for a further thirty minutes, or until the squash is soft. I served this with cauliflower cheese last night for a double comfort hit.