tThis was a time when an invitation to Sunday lunch meant one thing: a large communal center stage with a backdrop of vegetables, most boiling within an inch of their lives. But in this new monthly column, I’m going to be sharing the types of recipes In fact Cook on the weekend. Yes, there will be the spirit of the traditional meal – hearty, bountiful, something special – but with dishes that defy expectations. There will occasionally be meat, though probably often cheaper; There will be masses of vegetables. And I’ll keep things affordable and achievable to feed the hordes on the weekends.
Whole roasted butternut squash with pearl barley, melted cheese, and cilantro chimichurri
This wonderfully warmly spiced dish looks beautiful on the table. You could happily use any leftover Christmas cheese—just be sure to use a cheese that melts well, like Taleggio.
to equip 30 minutes
cook 1 hour 10 minutes
2 medium oak or Crown Prince pumpkin
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 white onionsPeeled and coarsely chopped
2 stalks of celeryPeeled and coarsely chopped
1 hot pepperOR 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlicPeeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 dry teaspoon Wild thyme – I’m using Mexican
200g of pearl barleyCooked in boiling water for 2 minutes less than the instructions on the package
240 ml white wine
3 bunches of parsley leaves
200 grams of cheese (or ogleshield, witheridge, or brie – all great melted cheeses), cut into cubes
1 bunch of corianderLeaves and stems finely chopped
1 clove of garlicPeeled and minced very finely
Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of hot paprika
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
100 ml olive oil
Preheat oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas 4. Cut off the “caps” from the squash, then scoop out the seeds (you can clean them and roast them for a snack or compost). Place the squash on an oven tray, put the lid on, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and roast for 30 minutes, until the flesh is tender to the point of a knife.
Meanwhile, place a deep frying pan over medium heat, and once hot, add the remaining olive oil, and season the onion and celery generously, sweating gently and stirring constantly, for seven to eight minutes. While the onions are cooking, remove the stem and seeds from the guajillo peppers and chop the flesh into small pieces with scissors, then add to the tender onions along with the garlic, cinnamon, and oregano, and sauté for 2 minutes.
By this time, the roasted squash should be tender, so remove it from the oven and scoop out some of the flesh, leaving behind a “cup” of at least 2cm thick inside each zucchini. Cube the ground beef, add it to the onion pan with the cooked pearl barley, and stir to combine. Pour in the wine, increase the heat, and let it simmer for a few minutes. Finely chop a third of the parsley and toss it with the cheese in the skillet. Spoon the mixture into the squash, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is heated through and melted.
While the squash is baking a second time, make the sauce. Put the remaining two-thirds of the parsley and all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend well, adding more vinegar or olive oil to taste, in addition to a splash of water if necessary to thin it to a drizzle consistency.
Serve the squash on the table with a crunchy green salad and chimichurri in a bowl on the side for people to drizzle over.