A butternut squash eyed me accusingly from the vegetable bin. Intended for a soup, it had proven surplus to requirements and, as often happens in households across the world, seemed destined to end up discarded. I really can’t abide waste and decided that the best thing for it was to pep it up with some tasty spices and roast it. Jamie Oliver has a recipe in his very first Naked Chef book which I’m a big fan of. In this case, I used it as my base and threw in really whatever herbs I had to hand.
I toasted a some cumin and coriander seeds in a hot pan. Just as coffee is fresh when it’s freshly roasted and ground, so too are spices but really, who has the time? We do go through cumin fairly quickly so it’s usually fairly fresh but other spices less so. I just happened to have these whole spices to hand and the kids were fast asleep – use the stuff that’s already ground up – but please refresh your stock every 6 months. Alright – every year!
The spices went into a pestle and mortar and I added other warm spices according to what I had available really go wild – paprika (smoked, sweet and / or spicy), turmeric, chili, cinnamon, oregano – it all works – then a couple of crushed garlic cloves and a little oil.
Peel the butternut (any squash will do, sweet potato works fine as well) and slice it into small chunks – 2 – 3 cm cubes. Toss them in the spice mixture and throw into a medium high oven 200 c / 395 f – they’ll take about 30 – 40 to cook through.
Decorate with some green herbs or onion to serve. These are very moreish – I ate them straight from the pan.
1 butternut squash, peeled in 2 – 3 cm cubes
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp crushed chili pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
Toast the seeds in a hot pan (no oil required, the cumin will pop)
Crush seeds in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder – add remaining herbs, spices and garlic
Add oil to the spice mix
Toss the squash in the spice mix.
Bake in a medium – hot oven for 30 – 40 minutes