Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

It's a while since I've given you a recipe that I've tried and found to be pretty fine. The following is something I knocked up for a New Year's Eve dinner with some friends.

We have a number of winter squashes grown on the allotment decorating the sideboard at home. Their shape and colour make them almost too good to eat, and they are so long lasting. Despite that I thought we ought to use one, if only to give us some space - they were quite large. They're a mixture of Spaghetti and Orange Hubbard squash. We'd sacrificed a couple of the Spaghetti ones  a while back. Now it was the turn of old Mother Hubbard.

I could not find a recipe on any English cooking website for this squash, American sites fell over themselves offering me all sorts of weird concoctions using a Hubbard. I'm afraid I didn't feel brave enough to venture into Americana cuisine so rummaged around the BBC Food website for something I thought our guests might be able to cope with.

"Butternut squash stew with coriander rouille". Instead of the ubiquitous Butternutter I switched a Hubbard, but frankly I couldn't tell the difference.

I started off on the wrong foot. It does do to read the recipe. I was expecting to make a meal for four out of what was a recipe for a meal for one. So I rapidly had to adjust the quantities. That wasn't a problem since luckily I'd over bought but I was worried that the cooking times might be out. Quadrupling the quantities doesn't mean the same increase in cooking time. The trouble was I had really had no idea whether or how I should increase it. So I settled for using the times given in the recipe for one and, if after those times, the thing wasn't cooked, just "Carry on Cooking". Yes, that risked turning the meal into an Elstree comedy.

I'm going to give you the quanties and times for a serving for one, since I can't now remember how much extra time my dinner for four required and I might have been just lucky!
Ingredients (Preparation time < 30 mins: cooking time 10 - 30 mins)
For the butternut squash stew
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g/3½oz butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1cm/½in cubes
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 100ml/3½fl oz white wine
  • 50ml/2fl oz double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the coriander rouille
  • large handful fresh coriander
  • large handful fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 50g/1¾oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • ½ lime, juice only
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Preparation method

  1. For the butternut squash stew, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, place the butternut squash pieces into the pan and fry for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the red onion, leek and red pepper and cook gently for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the wine, turn up the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cream and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. For the coriander rouille, place all the ingredients into a small food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. To serve, pour the stew into a large shallow bowl and drizzle over some of the rouille.

The missus couldn't get her head round the idea of a stew as the centre piece of a New Year's Eve dinner. She was worried that, it wouldn't be substantial enough, would be sloppy and a disaster. So I was required to prepare, in addition, brussel sprouts and chestnuts and a large loaf of home made French peasant bread.
There's a fabulous "instant" bread mix  by Francine, just place in a bowl add warm water and mix for 5 mins etc. It is so simple and excellent.

Needless to say the stew wasn't stewy, nor was it sloppy but extremely tasty: the  rouille was delicious.

We rounded the meal off with cheese and biscuits and a sweet Vouvray, which with the plain cheese biscuits and some traditional Wensleydale, Sheep Cheddar and Cornish Yarg was simply smashing. The Irish smoked oatmeal biscuits whilst unusual smelt and tasted a bit too much of breakfast kippers, so were nibbled only.

Some other friends arrived at 10:30 and we saw the New Year in  playing  a home made version of Pictionary.


      Anonymous said…
      Sounds yummy! Can't find any innuendo there.
      Steve said…
      One for the wife's scrap book...
      Marginalia said…
      Dear Fanny, Waitros were out of it.

      Dear Steve, not sure I'm too happy with "scrap". But thanks anyway.
      Anonymous said…
      Wait till I tell Johnny (sic)
      sbo said…
      thank you so much. fosbobetr good Archive

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