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Roasted Uchiki Kuri Squash with Chilli, Rosemary & Garlic – recipe

Squash
Photo by Jane Baker / greensnapperphotography.com

I had a great time at my first 24 Carrots Farmers Market in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter on Saturday, it’s only been going since July, but it’s already a decent size and was still fairly busy when I arrived at 2pm. I quite like a market when it’s starting to calm down after the midday buzz, it gives you plenty of time to chat to the producers themselves, and often literally ‘shake the hand that feeds you’. I had a good hour at the market chatting to Kiss Me Cupcakes, Holly and the Ivy, the Big Pan Man, Brynmawr Farm and the 24 Carrots organisers too. I also had a brief chat to Hopesay Glebe organic farm, near Craven Arms in Shropshire (sadly just outside our 40 mile ‘local to Birmingham’ radius). The farmer (sorry didn’t catch his name) sold me a beautiful onion squash, otherwise known as uchiki kiri squash, with a glint in his eye. He described to me it’s soft edible skin, sweet flavour (not dissimilar to sweet potato apparently), and chestnutty earthiness, with the pride of a man that remembers the very day he planted it’s seed in the earth. On his recommendation, I decided to try my best to bring out the sweetness and nutty qualities by roasting it with some complementary flavours. After a muddle around in the store cupboard and garden, I lumped for some dried rosemary (from our sadly departed rosemary bush), last-of-the-season fresh chilli, garlic, some pine nuts and finally pumpkin seeds (to remind me from whence this beauty came). Here’s what I did (serves six as a side dish/accompaniment):

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

1 large uchiki kiri (onion) squash, skin on, seeds removed, cut into 1-inch thick half-moons (requires a sharp knife and a strong arm)

2 small red chillies – finely chopped, seeds and all

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

Tablespoon of dried rosemary

Tablespoon of pine nuts

Tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven to gas mark 9 (240C). Drizzle a decent layer of olive oil all over a large flat baking tray. Lay out your squash segments on this, avoiding piling them up on each other too much, and drizzle a bit more oil on top of them – don’t be stingy, this squash absorbs a fair bit of oil, and can dry out if you don’t give it enough to drink. Dash all your other ingredients liberally across the tray, and rub them in a little to the squash segments. Place the tray in the hot oven for for 45-55 minutes until tender to the knife-prick and starting to caramelise round the edges. I served it with a simple herby wholemeal cous-cous accompaniment, which worked well as a simple supper. I also used the leftovers to make a risotto that was utterly oozy and irresistable, with a beautiful saffron colour.

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