Butternut squash, bean and tomato hotpot


This is my take on ‘Italian bean, butternut squash & tomato casserole (topped with fontina cheese & sliced buttered potatoes)’ from Aqua in Bristol. This provides plenty for 4 people:

  • Oil
  • 1/2 roasted butternut squash (cut into 2cm cubes)
  • 1 large onion (cut into thin wedges)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
  • Large pinch of oregano
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tinned butter beans (drained)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 baking potatoes (skins pierced several times)
  • 40g butter
  • 40g grated cheddar

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds (if you like you can roast these at the same time as the squash – remove the fleshy fibrous bits, mix with a little oil and salt, and roast (on a baking sheet in the bottom of the oven) for about 15 minutes (take a look after 10 minutes)).

Put the two halves of the butternut squash on a baking sheet. Pour a dessertspoon of oil into each cavity and brush over the surface of the squash. Roast for 40 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4). Put the potatoes in the oven at the same time.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Stir in the onion and gently cook for 8 minutes. Add one clove of garlic (crushed/chopped) and the oregano, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the butternut squash is cooked. Cube one of the halves (the other can be used in soup or risotto) and add it to the tomato mixture (I skinned my squash, but you can eat the skin which is quite tasty, but it does affect the texture of the finished dish). Add the butter beans. Season with black pepper, and ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish.

If the potatoes are cooked, slice them into 1cm slices (if they need a little more cooking I suggest that you finish them in the microwave before slicing). Place the potato slices on top of the tomato, squash and bean mixture.

Melt the butter and the remaining garlic in the microwave (about 40 seconds at 750W). Brush onto the potatoes (use a brush which won’t melt!). Sprinkle with the grated cheese and black pepper.

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes (longer if you are cooking the dish from cold). Serve.

I served mine with wild rocket (65p at Lidl).




In search of tasty vegiburgers

The August Waitrose Kitchen magazine ran a feature on burgers with “va va voom”. This included Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers.

Having a few ‘bog standard’ potatoes and a couple of carrots lying around, I decided to make something similar, substituting mashed carrots (thinly sliced, boiled and mashed) and potatoes (microwaved in their skins, scooped out and mashed) for the sweet potato. The recipe said that the sweet potatoes should be diced and roasted (and then mashed), which might have improved the texture of the burgers (mine were a bit wet, but maintained their shape).

This is my version of the recipe (for four people). I’ll call it Spiced Potato & Carrot Burgers:

• 4 medium sized potatoes, microwaved in their skins, scooped out and mashed
• 2 carrots, thinly sliced, boiled and mashed
• olive oil
• ½ onion chopped
• 2 tsp curry powder
• ½ tsp chilli flakes
• 400g can butter beans, drained
• 1 tbsp mango chutney, plus extra to serve
• 3 tbsp chopped coriander
• 4 pitta breads
• Lettuce, sliced tomatoes, chopped spring onions, additional chopped coriander

1 Heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently fry the chopped onion for 5 minutes. Add the spices; fry for 2 minutes.

2 In a bowl, mash the beans with a fork into a chunky puree. Mash in the cooked onion and mashed potato/carrot. Stir in the chutney and coriander; season.

3 Rub your hands with a little oil, then shape four burgers (I used a large, plain ‘cookie cutter’ to shape mine). Bake on a lined baking sheet for about 35 minutes until golden (200C; gas mark 6).

4 Slice open the pittas, spread with mango chutney and fill with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, chopped spring onions, additional chopped coriander, and a burger.

Because I used pitta bread, rather than a burger bun, I found I had to squash the burgers into the pitta breads. The result was a satisfying meal, but I felt that it was under seasoned.

Next time, I’ll use sweet potatoes (roasted) and far more curry powder!