Roasted Butternut Squash with Herby Freekeh

I’m trying to get more in touch with the seasons. Not that I was out of touch with them before. I mean, I love how a year has four distinctly different seasons in my part of the world. I love how nature changes around us and how we as people can structure our life around these transformations in how we dress, what we do and what we celebrate. What I was talking about was a better understanding of what it means to eat with the seasons. Luckily, there’s more to winter than cabbages. Butternut squash, for example. Not only is it shaped like a bottle, but when cut open it reveals a burst of warm orange colour that makes this season’s lack of sunlight a little easier to bear.  I managed to find a beautiful specimen at my local organic supermarket; so big I could easily get two meals out of it. One half ended up in this recipe and the other half is being turned into soup as we speak. Roasted in thin slices and seasoned with ground coriander, salt and urfa biber, it holds a perfect middle between sweet and savoury.  I originally only bought the freekeh (roasted green durum wheat) for two reasons: firstly, because I had never tried it before and was eager to try something new, and secondly because it’s called freekeh. Thankfully, its nutty flavour and firm texture also turned out to be a great match for my roasted squash. 

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Ingredients for 2

for the roasted squash

1/2 a large butternut squash

salt

ground coriander

urfa biber

for the herb freekeh

100 g freekeh

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

handful of fresh mint, finely chopped

handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

How to:

for the roasted squash

  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise with big sharp knife.
  • Heat the oven to 200-220 degrees.
  • Scoop out the seeds and slimy wires with a spoon.
  • Peel the squash with a sharp knife.
  • Slice it horizontally in 0.5 cm wide slices and arrange on a baking tray.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with ground coriander and plenty of salt
  • Roast in the oven for at least 35 minutes.
  • Before serving, sprinkle with urfa biber.

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for the freekeh:

  • Boil the freekeh in plenty of water for 25 minutes, then drain.
  • Sweat the shallots until soft and translucent. Then add the garlic and fry for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Add the freekeh, salt and the finely chopped herbs.

 

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Uncooked freekeh. The grains become plump and juicy after they’ve been boiled.

I also served this with some organic buffalo mozzarella. It’s not essential to the dish, and I just ate it on the side, but the creamy texture is a nice addition to the meal. Also, I picked it up from the “50 percent off because it expires today” shelf and considering how much I love the stuff, not eating it just wasn’t an option. Okay, time to check on my soup again.

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