These tempting baked stuffed squash make for an impressive and substantial meal. The scent of thyme, leeks and cheese that wafts up as you lift the lid off is so very alluring. Small gem or acorn squash are ideal; you could even use a squat butternut. Small squash will serve one; larger squash can be shared. For more vegetable-based recipes, read the original article, Frequently Vegetarian: Making a Case for Eating More Vegetables.
Leek-Stuffed Squash Recipe
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 large leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon English mustard
• 1/4 cup crème fraîche
• About 4 ounces Gruyère or other hard cheese, finely grated
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 to 4 small squash (1-1/2 to 2 pounds each)
• A handful of thyme sprigs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add leeks. As soon as they begin to sizzle, turn heat down and cover pan.
2. Sweat leeks gently for about 10 minutes, until very soft. Remove from heat and stir in mustard, crème fraîche and cheese. Season mixture well with salt and pepper, as it will be surrounded by a good amount of unseasoned squash.
3. Cut a small slice off the base of each squash so it will stand up on a baking sheet without wobbling. Carefully slice a “lid” off the top of each one and set aside. With a small, sharp knife, cut into the center of each squash, then use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds and fibers.
4. Fill squash cavities with leek mixture—they should be about 2/3 full. Tuck a few thyme sprigs into the center of each.
5. Put lids back on top and stand squash on a large baking sheet. There should be plenty of room for hot air to circulate around them.
6. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes (possibly longer if the squash are large) until the squash flesh feels very tender inside. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
This article is reprinted with permission from River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House.