22nd November 2013
This lovely recipe is the visual equivalent of bundled-up cosiness. A healthy addition to a winter menu, squash's sweet, nutty flavour makes it the perfect comfort food for colder months. The baked ham and cheddar in this recipe compliment the squash and leeks perfectly – a tangy variation on autumn vegetables.
4 small round winter squashes (about 500g each), wiped clean
3 leeks, trimmed, washed and thinly sliced
150ml dry white wine
200g thickly sliced ham, chopped
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
284ml carton single cream
100g mature cheddar, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5. Cut the top third off each squash (reserving them for lids) and scoop out and discard the seeds and fibres. Put in a large roasting tin.
2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until softened. Increase the heat, add the wine and bubble for a few minutes until reduced by half. Remove from the heat, stir in the ham and nutmeg then season.
3. Divide the leek mix among the squashes, then pour in the cream so each is just over half full. Replace the lids and bake for 1-1¼ hours, until tender but still holding their shape.
4. Remove from the oven and lift off the lids. Divide the cheese among them, replace the lids and serve.
Wine recommendation: lovely with a ripe, fruity, oaky Aussie or Californian Chardonnay.
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