It’s getting cold outside, it’s almost Halloween and most of the UK is either celebrating school half term or about to. So here is a perfect recipe to use up the spare pumpkin from all that lantern carving.
I love Autumn. Not so much the darker mornings, but definitely the crisp, bright days and the changing colour of the leaves. And the food. Local apples, pears and stone fruit just begging to be baked into a crumble. Tons of root veggies for soups, stews and curries. But especially the reappearance of squash. There are so many varieties of squash available now and they are such a versatile vegetable.
This baked rice dish is one of my favourites. Mushroom and roasted squash warmed up with sweet paprika and baked to give a crunchy topping.
This warming, Autumn comfort food dish is actually the perfect store cupboard dinner. You could use dried mushrooms and frozen squash and get a pretty decent result. But at this time of year, with so many varieties of squash available it seems a shame not to buy fresh.
Cover the porcini mushrooms in about 300ml of hot water and leave to soak.
Set oven to 200ºC.
Cook brown rice in plenty of boiling water for about 25 minutes. When it is cooked, drain and rinse then place in a large ovenproof dish.
Whilst the rice is cooking place the wedges of squash and onion on a baking tray and roast for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and soft. (I roast the squash with skin on then scoop the pumpkin out into the dish when cooked.)
Gently fry the chestnut mushrooms and garlic in a little butter or olive oil. Drain the porcini – saving the water – chop and add these to the pan.
Add the paprika and stir for a minute longer to coat the mushrooms.
Add the madeira to the pan, allow to simmer until the liquid has evaporated.
Now add the mushroom liquid and cream.
Once the squash is cooked scoop from the skins (if prepared this way) and add the onion and squash to the rice. Pour in the mushroom mix and sprinkle with parsley and seasoning.
Give everything a good stir, top with the cheese and bake for about 20 minutes until the top is slightly browned and crunchy.
Serve with a rocket salad drizzled in balsamic vinegar.
For a dairy free option you could substitute the cream with oat or cashew cream and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
For ‘storecupboard’ version use 250g pre-diced frozen squash, roasted for about 25 minutes and double the amount of dried mushrooms if not using fresh.
If you are not gluten free then you could substitute the rice for freekah or wheatberries for a slightly different texture.
I'm Kim Adams, founder of SAVI Nutrition. A Nutritional Therapist who is passionate about healthy, tasty food. Here I share with you my thoughts on food and health alongside a few of my favourite recipes.