Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime and Green Chilli

When it is hot and steamy out, we don’t feel like having a big heavy meal. On Saturdays we usually have brunch consisting of bread, cheese, a frittata or omelet and a salad. This Saturday, I finally served two dishes I made from the Plenty cookbook, written by Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, that Mr BT bought for me on our trip to the States and London last month.

One of the dishes I made was butternut squash that I roasted with freshly ground cardamom and allspice and served with wedges of fresh lemon (couldn’t find any limes in the market) and a lemon, yogurt and tehina dressing that was light and refreshing and had a completely unexpected mixture of tastes. You can serve this as a meze with other salads, a first course or a side dish.

I can’t wait to try more recipes from this cookbook.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime and Green Chilli

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime and Green Chilli

Serving Size: 4 to 6

2 whole limes

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium butternut squash (about 900g or 2lbs)

2 tablespoons cardamom pods

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup (100g) Greek-style yogurt

2 tablespoons (30g) tahini

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 green chilli, thinly sliced

10g picked coriander leaves or chopped chives

Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 210C (400F).

Trim off the limes' tops and tails using a small paring knife. Section the lime using the technique shown here. Cut each section into thirds. Place them in a small bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, stir and set aside.

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and discard, Cut each half, top to bottom, into 1 cm thick slices and lay them out on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place the cardamom pods in a mortar and use the pestle to get the seeds out of the pods. Discard the pods and pound the seeds into a rough powder. Transfer to a small bowl, add the allspice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, mix and brush over the butternut slices. Sprinkle with sea salt and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Peel off the skin or leave it on if you prefer.

Whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. The dressing should be thick but runny enough to pour; add more water if necessary.

To serve, arrange the cooled butternut slices on a serving platter and drizzle with the yogurt dressing. Spoon over the lime pieces and their juices and scatter the chilli slices on top. Garnish with the coriander or chives and serve.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2011/07/16/roasted-butternut-squash-with-sweet-spices-lime-and-green-chilli/

Pumpkin Pisto

Pisto is the Spanish version of ratatouille. There are many versions of this dish, and this vegetable stew is sometimes used as a filling for empanadas. I am not usually a fan of ratatouille because I find that most restaurants or people cook the dish to death and the vegetables just end up a slimy mess. But when I found a recipe for pisto using pumpkin and butternut squash, I had to try it.

I used a Delicata pumpkin that I bought at the Orbanics market, and a butternut squash for this recipe. The pumpkin had a yellow flesh, that is not as sweet as the orange fleshed pumpkin we can buy here to use primarily in soup and couscous. I loved this recipe. It is full of flavor and goes well with chicken and lamb. I served it with roasted chicken with sumac, onion and pine nuts. You could also serve it as a main dish with rice.

Pumpkin Pisto

Serving Size: 4

Recipe from Moro East by Sam and Sam Clark

800g (1-3/4lb) peeled and seeded pumpkin or butternut squash or a combination of both, cut into 2cm (3/4 of an inch) chunks

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 large or 3 medium onions, roughly chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1 cm (1/3 of an inch) chunks

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4 bay leaves, preferably fresh

1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or marjoram

A few grates of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

12 tablespoons (180ml) passata

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar, mixed with 4 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted

Sprinkle the pumpkin with the salt and set aside. In a large, deep frying pan (about 30cm or 11 inches in diameter), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and stir until the onions are soft and light brown.

Add the red pepper and saute for an additional 10 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and rosemary, and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin and reduce the heat; saute for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is barely soft. Add the oregano or marjoram, nutmeg, cumin and the passata. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender. Add the vinegar-water, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, with the toasted pine nuts.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/07/07/pumpkin-pisto/

Chicken Hamin with Israeli Couscous and Butternut Squash

As the weather get warmer here, I like to start lightening up the dishes. My husband just returned from a two week trip where he only had fish, so I had to make a chicken dish before he started growing scales and gills. After the first successful attempt at making a hamin, I decided to try a summer recipe from Sherry Ansky’s Hamin cookbook.

This recipe just calls for chicken legs, israeli couscous, onions, and water, which sounded too bland for our taste, so I kicked it up a notch and added garlic, slices of butternut squash, Hungarian paprika, and ras el hanut. The dish was delicious and the sweetness of the butternut squash was a perfect addition. This dish can be made overnight or you can cook it for 4 hours and serve it on Friday night like I did. The best part of this dish is that you line the pan with parchment paper, so there is easy cleanup; no muss and no fuss.

Chicken Hamin with Israeli Couscous and Butternut Squash

Serving Size: 4 to 6

Adapted from a recipe in Hamin (in Hebrew) by Sherry Ansky

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

1 small butternut squash

1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil

2 large onions, coarsely chopped

6 whole cloves garlic

2 rounded tablespoons Hungarian paprika

1 rounded tablespoon ras el hanut

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

500g (1lb) Israeli couscous (ptitim)

4 cups of water and another 1/2 cup

Preheat oven to 100C (200F) for overnight cooking or 150C (300F) for 4 hours cooking.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan that has a lid over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute until lightly brown. Add the whole garlic, paprika, ras el hanut, salt and pepper; stir for a couple of minutes. Add the Israeli couscous and lightly toast it, stirring constantly. Add the water, cover, and cook the couscous for 8 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cut the butternut squash in half vertically, keeping the peel on, and seed it removing all of the stringy parts. Then, cut the squash horizontally into 6mm (1/4 inch) slices. Set aside.

Line a large clay pot, or other large roasting dish that has a cover, with parchment paper. Place half of the couscous mixture in the bottom of the pan, patting it down to make sure you have an even layer, and then add a layer of butternut squash slices. Add all of the chicken on top of the butternut squash, and then layer with rest of the butternut squash. Place the rest of the couscous mixture on top and add the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the pan and cover tightly with the lid.

Place in the oven and cook overnight or for 4 hours at the higher temperature. Invert on a platter for presentation.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/05/29/chicken-hamin-with-israeli-couscous-and-butternut-squash/

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