This has to be a contender for the ultimate comfort food – sweet, roasted, caramelised butternut with a hint of chilli filled with melty leeks, strong tangy cheddar and a final flourish of fresh, verdant parsley. Â The molten, almost fondue like, cheese combines so well with the squash; Â cosy, heart and soul warming food – a veritable hug on a cold and rainy day.
These are all ingredients I keep to hand at this time of year and if I wasn’t going to go the above route (although why I wouldn’t, I can’t think…) I have another idea for you. Â Roast chunks of butternut in the oven, meanwhile soften leeks in a large pan with a splash of oil and a knob of butter. Â When the butternut is soft add to the leeks with a litre of vegetable or chicken stock, a splash of dry sherry and a pinch of chilli flakes. Â Whizz with a hand held blender and serve with a swirl of cream and a slice or two of cheese on toast.
Two choices, which way to go…..
Roast Butternut with Cheese, LeeksÂ and Parsley
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large leek (or 2 small) washed and sliced
80g strong cheddar, I used Barbers 1833
1 tablespoon cream
10g parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 200. Â Cut the butternut in half, scoop out the seeds and then brush the cut surface with a little olive oil. Â Sprinkle with a pinch of chilli flakes, salt and pepper and roast for an hour or until soft and caramelised. Â Meanwhile melt the remaining oil and the butter in a pan and cook the onion and leek gently until soft. Â Add the grated cheese, cream, parsley and season to taste. Â When the butternut is done remove from the oven, divide the leek mixture between the two halves, sprinkle with a little extra cheddar if you want and then return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden brown on top and bubbling. Â This would serve two for lunch with some quick pickled onions (August 2014) and a salad or four as a side if you halved each half.
Barbers very kindly gave me some of their Vintage Reserve Cheddar and this is what I used for this recipe.