JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Stuffed butternut

This is that moment of the year that kitchen gardeners call the hungry gap - winter crops are just about over, but the summer crops haven't yet come through. And it's the moment of the year when subscribers to veg box schemes are most tempted to bunk off and buy something airfreighted from the supermarket.

Here, we've still got quite a few squashes to get through, so yesterday's supper was stuffed butternut. This sort of cooking is easy if you're free with the cheese, slightly harder when you're cutting right down on saturated fat. Regular readers of this blog will know that I often use anchovy instead of cheese, because it imparts the right savoury note without any hint of fishiness (and if you've never tried it, or think you don't like anchovy, I urge you to give it one go ... it's unlikely to be the last). The salty herby stuffing here contrasts with the sweetness of the baked butternut.

Stuffed butternut for 2

Halve the butternut, clean out the seeds and strings, brush with a little olive oil and bake in a hot oven for half an hour, until cooked through but not browned.

Meanwhile, peel and chop two onions, and sweat them slowly in some olive oil. Towards the end of the cooking time, add a little chopped thyme, and three anchovies. When the anchovies have melted, take the mix off the heat.

Meanwhile blitz some bread into soft crumbs. You will need to end up with roughly the same volume as the onion mix, so 3-5 slices (cut off the crusts), depending on the size of your loaf. Use whatever bread you've got (I'm assuming it's not a Mother's Pride type sliced loaf) - I used a homemade oatmeal loaf I will blog about next week, the first bread I've made for weeks. Mix the crumbs into the onion.

At this point, you need to make the stuffing all stick together. You could use lightly beaten egg white, if you were being very strict about the saturated fat in your diet. Or a whole egg. Or you could add a little cheese - unusually, I had some in the fridge, so that's what I used. It was the end of a box of Philadelphia extra light, something I don't normally buy (I'm not very keen on "slimming" products - would you keep locust bean gum or carrageenan in your kitchen? That's what was in the Philly). I wasn't sure if it would cook okay, but it did. If it hadn't been there, the plan was to use 0% yoghurt, stabilised with cornflour (at the rate of 1 tablespoon cornflour to one cup of yog).

Mix it all up, put the stuffing in the cavities, drizzle with a little olive oil, and bake in a hot oven for half an hour. Supper sorted. You could bake the pumpkin ahead; you could even prepare the whole dish ahead. Easy, delicious, heart-healthy food.

As we were eating it, it occurred to me that you could use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs ... if you wanted to do that, you'd need to soak some in boiling water until they were cold (around an hour). Oats are particularly heart-healthy food, with the advantage of being a great deal cheaper than more fashionable, faddier superfoods.

This is my entry for Waiter there's something in my .. hosted this month by Jeanne at Cook Sister!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I really like this stuffing and butternut is just the best.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Joanna, This sounds wonderful. I sometimes use anchovies, I also like anchovy sauce. Amanda

Anonymous said...

This looks fabulous. I love butternut squash. Last year I saved the seeds and have planted them following advice from I now have lots of butternut squash plants so roll on the harvest so I can try your recipe.
Sara from

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

I love this idea. I stuffed a squash with bulgur risotto earlier this year, but your recipe looks like a lot less work, way healthier, with equally rewarding results!

Have you ever used veggie ground round? It's a great way to incorporate soy protein into your meals, without adding a lot of fat. I use it in things like stuffed peppers with orzo. Very yummy too.

Jeanne said...

Oh I love butternut squash and I'm so glad to see it gaining popularity in this country! Stuffed butternut is quite common on menus in South Africa so I'm hoping it catches on here ;-) Yours looks particularly fab - I love the addition of anchovies, which must make for an intriguing taste.

Thanks for taking part in WTSIM!