I’ve never prepared a complete vegetarian meal before, and wanted to prepare a show stopping main course for my guests. A vegetarian meal at Christmas is often associated with nut roast – didn’t want to do that – boring and predictable. Vegetarian food seems to also revolve around pasta, or rice, with a tomato sauce, or mushrooms…all a bit of a snooze fest! I then saw this dish – Squash Stuffed with Leeks on the TV programme River Cottage Veg Everyday and knew that was the one to do!
It looked delicious and with an individual roasted squash on the plate, I thought would be a show stopper!
I used the recipe from Hugh’s book ‘River Cottage Veg Everyday!’ and it is slightly different to the one on his website.
To serve 4 people you will need…
- 35g butter
- 2 large leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1tsp English mustard
- 4tbsp crème fraîche
- 125g Gruyère or other well-flavoured hard cheese, finely grated
- 2-4 smallish squash (400g – 800g each)
- handful of thyme sprigs
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
I bought a squash for each person – there were four different varieties for sale in the supermarket, so I got one of each :)
Start by preheating the oven to 190C/Gas 5.
In a bowl mix the crème fraîche and the English mustard and set to one side.
Trim and wash your leeks – they tend to get a lot of grit in the green leaves and I find that cutting them lengthways first helps to clean them easier under running water. Slice thinly.
Heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat and add the leeks. As soon as they begin to sizzle, turn the heat down to low, cover and sweat for about ten minutes until very soft.
Remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche and mustard mix.
Add the grated Gruyère cheese and season well with salt and pepper.
To prepare the squash, cut a small slice from the base of each one so that it will stand up in the roasting tin without wobbling about. Carefully slice a ‘lid’ off the top of each one. Some squash I found were very tough, so be really careful! What I did after struggling with one of the squash was to cut a lid out like I would do when carving a pumpkin but making straight cuts all around kinda like a hexagon – I hope you understand what I mean – it’s hard to describe – but in the grey-green squash at the front of the pictures below you can see the kind of cuts I made (and the mess I made of the other ones before I thought to do this!)
Scoop the seeds and fibres out from each squash and place in a roasting tin.
Fill the squash with the leek mixture – they should be about two-thirds full…I over filled mine a little >_<
Place some thyme sprigs into each squash and then pop the lids back on.
You should allow room around the squash for hot air to circulate around them.
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until the squash is tender – larger squash may need a little longer, but I found 50 minutes was okay for mine.
Take out of the oven and serve immediately!
They smelled divine when they came out of the oven, and tasted so creamy and delicious!