Roasted butternut squash stuffed with shallots & beetroot and finished with a pastry lid provides a delicious meat free option for vegetarian guests this Christmas time.
Do you have vegetarians coming for Christmas dinner this year? Are you a little unsure what to serve that is not only straight forward to make but also looks good on the plate and tastes delicious too?
Well, how about serving this butternut squash stuffed with the seasonal flavours of chestnuts, shallots and beetroot topped with a buttery and flaky pastry? The vegetables are initially roasted with thyme to develop their flavours before being packed into the hollowed out base of the butternut squash with the chestnuts. The filling is delicious and flavourful, being full of seasonal produce.
The stuffed squash is straight forward to make. Not only does the shop bought ready rolled puff (or short crust) pastry slash the preparation time but the vegetables can easily be prepared ahead of time before being finished off with the remaining components of the dinner. This Christmas stuffed butternut squash is a time saver allowing you to enjoy the social side of Christmas, after all non of us want to be tied to the kitchen when all the fun is being had by the rest of the gathering.
One of the elements of this vegetarian Christmas meal are chestnuts. I love chestnuts, with their distinctive slightly sweet flavour. Dad would always buy a bag or two of fresh ones each winter which were then roasted in the oven before being peeled and savoured! They were delicious! Truly delicious! So fabulous to enjoy on a cold, dark winter’s evening whilst sat in front of a warm fire with thick woolly socks on our feet! Though to make life easier, this recipe uses vacuum packed chestnuts which are ready to use as your recipe suggests!
So, let’s get to it and bake.
Christmas Stuffed Butternut Squash Yum
Yield: 2 stuffed squashes
Time: Hands on time about 20 minutes. Total baking time 55 minutes.
You will need:
1 large roasting tray
1 medium sized bowl
Pastry Brush (optional)
For the stuffed squashes
2 Butternut Squash
2 small Fresh Beetroot
3 mini Sweet Potato (or half a regular sized one)
4 sprigs of Thyme
1 – 2 tbsp. Sunflower or Vegetable Oil
6-7 vacuum packed Chestnuts, halved (I used these Merchant vacuum packed chestnuts which are ready to use and can be found in most good supermarkets)
Ready made & rolled Puff / Short Pastry (or homemade)
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
How to make it:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220c / 200 Fan / Gas 7. Place the roasting tray into the oven.
2. Prepare the butternut squash. Wash the skin of both of the butternut squashes. Use a sharp knife to cut the squashes in half just above the bulbous part. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from the bulbous parts. Rinse out the cavities. Cut just one of the main part of the squash into chunks about 3cm cubed, you can leave the skin on and remove it after roasting if you prefer (wrap the other squash in cling film to use in another recipe such as on a pizza or in a soup).
3. Prepare the remaining vegetables. Remove the stems from the beetroot (leave the vegetable whole). Peel the shallots, leaving the root intact. Peel the mini sweet potatoes and cut each into 2 or 3 chunks.
4. Coat in oil. Place the prepared vegetables into a bowl. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of oil. Use your hands to toss them together.
5. Roast. Remove the heated baking tray from the oven. Add the prepared vegetables to the tray in a single layer including the two hollowed out squashes. Place a thyme sprig to each of the squash hollows, and two onto the other prepared vegetables. Return the tray to the oven. Roast for 15 – 30 minutes. Toss the vegetables half way through their cooking time. Remove the vegetables from the oven once they are slightly tender and par-cooked – this will be about 15 minutes for the hollowed out squash, about 30 minutes for the beetroot, about 20 minutes for the remaining vegetables. Place the cooked vegetables onto some absorbent paper to remove any excess cooking oil. Set aside to cool.
6. Peel the beetroot. Once the beetroot has cooled, wrap it in a couple of sheets of kitchen roll. Gently rub the beetroot to help remove the skin. If you roasted the squash chunks with their skin on, remove it at this point with a knife.
7. Assemble. Remove the thyme sprigs from the vegetables (leaving any leaves that have dropped onto the vegetables). Cut the shallots in half if they are a little large. Cube the beetroot into 6 pieces. Add the chestnuts to the vegetables and roughly mix them together. Pack the vegetables into the hollowed squashes, aiming to get a good selection of each vegetable into each. Gently squash them in as there are likely to be air pockets which would be nice to be filed with the vegetables.
8. Top with pastry. Unroll the packaged pastry. Find a cup (or similar) which has a similar sized circumference as the hollowed out squashes. Place the cup onto the pastry. Use a sharp knife to cut around the cup to create a pastry disc. Carefully lift the pastry disc and lay it on top of the stuffed squash. Repeat for the second squash.
9. Set aside. Place the squashes on a clean tray. Cover with cling film and set aside somewhere cool until you are ready to bake them.
10. Bake. Pre-heat the oven to 220c / 200 Fan / Gas 7 (or the temperature the pastry manufacturers recommend). Remove the cling film. Use a pastry brush to glaze the pastry with egg to give the cooked pastry a deeper golden colour once baked (optional). Place the tray containing the stuffed squashes into the heated oven for about 25 minutes until the pastry is golden and the vegetables have heated through.