Our holiday recipes continue as local foodie, Jason Guard, gives us a delicious alternative to a meat-centric feast.
For me, holiday food means two things: trying to show up my in-laws’ meat dishes with a bold and beautiful vegetarian creation, and giving my wife the latest Jamie Oliver cookbook. I think she’s more interested in having HIM over for dinner, than eating his food, but… whatever it takes to get into the spirit of giving and receiving.
This year, I’m seeking Jamie’s help in making a vegetarian dish that fits the holiday motif, while outperforming the standard fare of turkey, ham, dressing, giblet gravy, and mashed potatoes. I’m not going to make a Lisa Simpson gazpacho that makes everyone sing, “You don’t win friends with salad.” This aromatic and creamy butternut squash recipe (adapted from Cook with Jamie) is rich and satisfying and will convert non-believers in one bite. It can easily fill the yam/sweet potato/mashed potato slot on the table and maybe curtail the urge for the ubiquitous pumpkin pie. But most importantly, this dish is going to blow the typical holiday main dish outta the water, or at least compliment it nicely.
- 2 butternut squashes (medium sized), peeled (all green stripes gone from under the tan skin)
- 1 tsp of coriander seeds, crushed
- 1-2 dried chillies, crushed (or some crushed red pepper)
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (dried will do)
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 of a nutmeg
- 1 glass white wine (Chardonnay perhaps?)
- 2 handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 400F.
Slice the squash into 1” thick wedges. Coat them with a couple glugs of olive oil and toss them with the coriander, thyme, chillies, and salt and pepper to taste. Place the wedges crammed tightly into a high-sided metal or stoneware pan. Put a lid on very loosely to allow some but not all of the steam to escape (or use damp parchment paper pressed down onto the squash. Bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, grate the nutmeg into the cream, and mix it with the wine, big pinches salt and pepper, and half of the cheese. When the 30 minutes are up, take the squash pan out and pour the cream mixture all around. Sprinkle the remaining handful of cheese on top. Put it back into the oven. Check it after 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the cream is reduced to the point that it doesn’t slosh around when you shake the pan. Serve immediately and pass the pan beneath everyone’s noses. Mmmmmm.