When you want easy peasy squashy squeezy this is the perfect thing. It’s comforting to eat, lower carb, gluten free and very satisfying. You can use any squash you like but in the UK butternut seems to be available pretty much all year round. I would serve this with a salad at any time of the year because it’s the easiest way to get your five a day and doesn’t involve cooking. Not that I want you to get the idea that I’m lazy or anything – it provides a nice crunchy contrast. Yep. That’s it. However you could have it with any additional veg you fancy. Or indeed none at all.
You will need:
1 butternut squash
2 tbs oil
250g minced beef or lamb
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbs tomato purée
2 tsp hot smoked paprika (use sweet paprika if you don’t like spicy)
250ml red wine or stock
2 tbs double cream or 50g cubed Feta (or both!)
Cut the squash in half from stalk to tip, brush the cut surface with a little oil, sprinkle with salt and put onto a baking tray. Cover the tray with foil but not too tightly, leave a little bit of room between the foil and the squash. Bake in a pre-heated oven (180ºc) until completely tender when poked with a sharp knife. Allow to cool while you prepare the mince filling.
Heat the remaining oil in a wide shallow pan then add the onion and fry until beginning to go golden brown then add the mince and continue frying until there is no trace of pink in the meat. Add the garlic, tomato purée, paprika and wine or stock. Bring up to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is thick.
Remove the foil from the squash and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibres from the middle of each half and discard. Pile the meat sauce into the resulting cavity and all over the top and then put the squash back into the oven for about 20 minutes to heat through. You can re-cover with the foil if you wish but I find it isn’t really necessary.
Serve with a little cream spooned over (beef) or scattered with cubed Feta (lamb) and plenty of chopped parsley.