Roast squash with vanilla & cumin toasted spelt, goat’s cheese & harissa oil
Squash and pumpkin are always best when they aren’t laden with too much water; the flesh will be firmer, richer in flavour and less inclined to disintegrate. The red kuri squash in the veg bags this week were the perfect texture for this recipe.
You can use any wholegrain you like here but I particularly like the nuttiness from spelt. Toasting it before boiling in water gives it a lovely caramel note which has a delightful malty smell when it’s in the pan toasting away.
You may think it unusual to use vanilla in a savoury dish but it’s floral sweetness marries perfectly with the onions and spelt and, I think, balances beautifully with the savoury salty cheese.
1 small squash
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 pinch chilli powder
1 red onion, finely sliced
½ vanilla pod
¼ tsp cumin seed
2 tsp vegetable oil
100g pearled spelt
60g chard leaves, roughly sliced
100g goat’s cheese or curd, crumbled
1 tbsp harissa paste (I use Belazu rose harissa)
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 175°C.
Cut your squash in half from top to bottom. Remove the seeds using a spoon. Cut each half into 4 wedges. In a large bowl, mix together 1 tbsp of the olive oil with the ground spices. Add the squash segments to the bowl and coat well with the spiced oil.
Line a baking tray with non-stick paper and add the squash. Roast in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until golden and caramelised.
Meanwhile, add half the remaining olive oil along with the butter to a small saucepan. Melt over a medium heat and then add the sliced onion, vanilla pod, cumin seed and a pinch of salt. Cook over a very low heat for 20 minutes or so until the onions very soft and translucent.