I’m generally not a fan of vegetables and sugar in the same dish, particularly after being presented with a sweet potato and toasted marshmallow ‘casserole’ many years ago. I’d recently moved to the US and was hosting Thanksgiving dinner in an attempt to embrace American culture. Even today, the very thought of that well meant but unsolicited offering makes me shudder. Needless to say it remained untouched even by my new American friends and was taken away intact. Perhaps I should have served it as a dessert but as the gifter insisted it should be served with the turkey, I thought it best to leave well alone.
On the other hand, this is a rather lovely – and different – way of serving mashed butternut squash, that goes very well with roast chicken, turkey, goose or pork. After you’ve drained the squash, don’t discard the chicken broth; it can be added to soup or used to make gravy for your roast.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH BRULEE
2 lbs (1 kilo) of butternut squash, peeled, seeds discarded and cut into smallish chunks
2 cups (480-500ml) of chicken broth
A level teaspoon of grated nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (120ml) of crème fraîche
1/4 cup (50ml) of grated parmigiano reggiano
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
Heat the oven to 375F (190C)
Put the cubed squash and chicken broth in a pan, bring it to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the squash, reserving the broth for something else.
Tip the squash back into the pan, add the crème fraîche, nutmeg, egg, parmesan, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, then mash until smooth.
Transfer it to an oiled, shallow baking dish and smooth the top, then dot with small pieces of butter. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Remove it from the oven, set the broiler/grill on high and sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the baked squash. Stick it under the broiler/grill for a couple of minutes until the sugar has melted and is bubbling.
Serve very warm.