I've started going through some of the cookbooks I have, that I haven't used for a long time. I got Happy Days with the Naked Chef some time ago for Christmas and made only one recipe from it (Steak and Guiness Pie, which was very tasty). I took it off the shelf the other day on a whim and began to (re)read through it. I came across this squash recipe and decided to try it. I made it for dinner tonight and it was very good. It came together fairly easy, except for prepping the squash (see notes below).

Hamilton Squash

Jamie Oliver
Happy Days with the Naked Chef

serves 4

1 small handful of dried porcini mushrooms
1 butternut squash, halved and seedsremoved
olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, pounded
a pinch or two of dried chili, to taste
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 oz. basmati rice
1/2 a handful of pine nuts, lightly roasted

First of all, soak your porcini for 5 minutes in 1/2 cup of boiling water. Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Using a teaspoon, score and scoop out some extra flesh from the length of the squash. Finely chop this flesh with the squash seeds and add to a frying pan with 4 glugs of olive oil, the onion, garlic, coriander seeds, chili, rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes. Fry for 4 minutes until softened. Add the porcini and half their soaking water. Cook for a further 2 minutes before seasoning.

Stir in your rice and pine nuts, pack the mixture tightly into the 2 halves of the squash and then press them together. Rub the skin of the squash with a little olive oil, wrap in foil, and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 1/4 hours.


Okay, now for the changes I made:

First off, I don't like "fungus", so I just left those out and used a little chicken broth for the soaking water. Didn't have a red onion, so used 1 small yellow. Ddn't have coriander seeds, so I used 1 tsp. of ground coriander. Also, I didn't wind up chopping up all the seeds, about half of them made it into the trash before I remembered I was supposed to save them. I baked the foil-wrapped squash on a small baking sheet, although this isn't specified in the recipe.

And I gotta say, either Jamie's teaspoon is a lot sharper than mine or his squash is a lot softer. Scooping out the flesh from a raw squash is pretty hard. I wound up using a paring knife to score the flesh and take some of it out before scraping with the teaspoon, but it was a lot of work.

Even though this is supposed to be a vegetarian entree (it's named after a friend of his who ordered the "veggie" option one night after too many days of meat), I served it with linguica, which I split lengthwise and pan-fried.

All in all, I think this is a keeper.