This week’s Halloween inspired recipe is brought to you by one of Beachspoke’s favourite chefs, Anna Jones. Squash is the perfect autumnal ingredient, packing flavour and nutrients in equal measure. Make the most of seasonal, local produce by sourcing a selection of squash from Kabocha, Onion or Acorn and a hard hitting cheddar that will bring this nurturing recipe to life. The glory of roasting the squash also means that it’s relatively hassle free, an absolute must for any holiday dish.
If you’re in St Ives this weekend, we recommend a visit to The Allotment Deli which will provide you with a selection of the best local fruit and veg and pulses a plenty. Try out the local farmer’s market on Thursdays if you’re in Yarrow, or a worthwhile trip to Daylesford Farm for a selection of some of the finest produce around.
Source: Anna Jones for The Guardian
A mixture of whole squashes: about 750g squash per person (I used 2 onion squash and 2 smaller kabocha squash)
4 fennel bulbs
1 garlic bulb
Salt and black pepper
250g freekeh or pearl barley
125g sharp cheddar or other cheese
1 lemon, zested
1 bunch fennel tops or dill
1 red chilli, deseeded if you like
A knob of butter
50g rolled oats or barley flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
Recipe from Anna Jones of The Guardian
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Use a big, heavy knife to cut off the base of each squash, so they sit upright on a tray. Cleanly cut the top off each one in a single piece (you are going to put the tops back on) about 3-4cm from the top. Use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and the fibres until you have a neat hollow.
Trim the fennel, removing any tough outer leaves, then cut the bulb into a few big wedges.
Put the squash in a large roasting tray or two. Scatter the fennel wedges around and put the bulb of garlic on too. Drizzle the lot with olive oil, making sure you get inside the squash, and season with salt and pepper. Pop the tops back on the squash. Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until the squash are tender and the fennel has started to soften and brown. If your squash take a little longer, you can remove the fennel once it’s nicely soft and brown around the edges, as you don’t want it to overcook.
Put the freekeh or pearl barley in a medium pan and cover with cold water. Add a big pinch of salt, then bring to the boil and simmer until al dente (about 12 minutes for freekeh and 25 minutes for pearl barley). Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Remove the garlic and fennel from the roasting dish. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic into the freekeh. Roughly chop the fennel and add it to the bowl along with the cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Chop the fennel tops and chilli and add these too. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning, if you like.
Divide the mixture between the squash and return them to the oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat some butter in a small pan, add the oats, fennel seeds and a little salt and pepper. Stir to coat in the butter, then toast the flakes until golden (this will take about 5 minutes). Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Once the squash and freekeh are out of the oven, sprinkle over the toasted oats and put in the middle of the table for everyone to dig in.