With Halloween just around the corner, it seems that huge bright orange pumpkins are everywhere at the moment. But you can pick up some wonderful crazy looking varieties which are just perfect roasted whole for a hearty winter supper. Here's one of our favourite ways to serve them with a perfect seasonal flavour partner, apple!
- 2 baby or 1 medium squash, acorn variety works well.
- 1 large apple
- 100g bread crumbs
- 50g dried apricots
- 25g pine nuts or any nuts
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp Thyme/rosemary/chives - whatever herbs you have to hand
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5
Careful cut a 'lid' off the top of the squash and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds & fibres, leaving the rest of the flesh inside. You can wash and dry the seeds then roast them with a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning for a delicious snack or salad topping.
If need be cut a small slice off the base of each squash so it will stand up on a baking tray without wobbling.
Place the pine nuts on a baking tray and put in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly toasted, be careful not to let them burn. Take out and leave to cool.
Chopped the apricots and place in a bowl with breadcrumbs, we left our apricots quite big so they stay juicy, it up to you. Finely chop the herbs and add to the bowl. Roughly chop the pine nuts and add these, then peel the apple and grate it into the bowl.
Zest the lemon and add to the mixture with 1 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp oil. Season and mix well. The mixture should be slightly sticky but still crumbly as the apples will release lots of moisture, add more oil if needed.
Fill the squash cavities with the mixture – they should be about two-thirds full. Tuck a few thyme sprigs into the centre of each. Put the "lids" back on top and stand the squash on a large baking tray – there should be plenty of room for hot air to circulate around them.
Bake for 40–50 minutes – possibly longer if the squash are large – until the flesh feels very tender inside. Serve straight away with a fresh salad or instead of meat on roast dinner.
Works well with any apple varieties, we used up a few sad looking ones past their best for eating!