Squash and pumpkin are just the thing to start cooking now as autumn descends upon us. Butternut squash is easy to find in all supermarkets but feel free to try pumpkin instead or experiment with any other varieties you might find, like acorn or kabocha.
I love caramelised onions but always seem to put off making them because they take quite a while to cook. But if you cook them in this recipe while everything else is in the oven you won’t notice and the time will fly by. It’s actually quite therapeutic.
This makes a nice vegetarian light lunch, served warm with a salad sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. If you fancy some meat, shredded chicken would go well with these flavours. Leftovers are nice cold the next day.
Butternut squash, feta and caremalized red onion polenta tart
For the butternut squash:
1 butternut squash (you will have leftovers)
2 tsp. dried rosemary
Olive oil or cold pressed rapeseed oil
For the caramelised onion:
3 red onions
Olive oil or butter
2 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
For the base:
200g quick cook polenta
800ml stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. butter
A handful of spinach
A handful of rocket
Extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat your oven to 180oC (fan oven).
Peel and de-seed your butternut squash. Cut it into small cubes and lie on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle over the rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 40-45 minutes until soft.
Meanwhile, slice your onions thinly and put them in a large frying pan with some oil or butter. Heat on a low heat for about 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up as you do not want to burn the onions, rather cook them very slowly until they’re really soft. When they’re at this point (after about 30 minutes) add the vinegar and the palm sugar. Cook for another 10 minutes until everything has thickened up a bit and the onions have turned slightly golden. Set aside.
While the onions are cooking, prepare the polenta base.
Line a 9 x 13 in baking tray with grease proof paper and brush it with butter or olive oil.
Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan then add the polenta. Whisk continuously until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then, turn the heat down and add the butter and the rosemary, whisking continuously. Season with salt and pepper, tasting to see that there is enough of both.
Pour the polenta onto the prepared baking tray, using a spoon to spread it out evenly. Put this in the oven for 30 minutes until set.
Take the polenta out of the oven and top with about 300g of the cooked squash (save the rest for leftovers), the caramelized onions and a handful of spinach. Drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven for 8 minutes.
Take the tart out of the oven, crumble over the feta and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes to allow the feta to melt slightly.
Scatter over a handful of rocket and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil just before serving. Serve warm with a nice fresh salad.