Sunday, 14 November 2010

Turkey and squash bake (borrowed from Nigel Slater)

So, this was one of the recipes from the first episode of the esteemed Mr Slater's new series of Simple Suppers, which I have fiddled slightly (I am sure he won't mind), and worked out the ProPoints; I reckon that for three big appetites it comes in at 10 ProPoints per serving. Serve it with some 0-ProPoint fine green beans, blanched lightly and then tossed with wholegrain mustard. Delishos, even if I do say so myself. The Husband Type Creature proclaimed it to be "better than any cottage pie with potato", so I'm happy with that assessment. I suppose it is supposed to be a bit like a cottage pie, with a minced meat base and a mash top.

I should just say that if you don't live with a 6'4 beardy eating machine this would probably feed four people (if you had plenty of veg on the side, or a 0-ProPoint soup starter), so don't be put off.

500 extra lean turkey breast mince (try Sainsbury's or ASDA)
4 rashers of streaky smoked bacon, chopped finely
2 punnets of chestnut (or any tasty variety!) mushrooms, or equivalent, quartered
3 big carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
4 sticks of celery, sliced thinly
1 yellow pepper, diced finely
2 red onions, diced finely
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 small bottle of red wine (I mean a mini-bottle, 187ml)
2 tbsp cornflour, made up into a paste with a dash of tapwater
generous seasoning with thyme and sage, to taste
black pepper
1 chicken stock cube
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and hacked into big lumps. There needs to be enough to make the topping so don't be stingy. Go by what size your dish is.

So...the method is thus.

Heat the oven up to HIGH. You're not going for elegant chewy roasted butternut squash, you're going for "nuked until it's soft enough to mash". So aim for that. Peel, deseed and hack it up, and then put it into a roasting tray with a few sprays of oil, sea salt and black pepper (to taste; I like mine quite well seasoned. Another tasty tip is to add the tip of a teaspoon of Marigold vegetable bouillon powder when you're actually mashing it). When the oven is up to speed, throw it in and give it fifteen minutes. Check it then, turn it and make sure it's not catching too much, and give it another ten. That should be enough. It needs to be soft enough to mash easily so use your judgement and if in doubt, try and cut a piece in half with the edge of your spoon. :)

For the rest, it's dead easy. Start by browning the bacon off and then add the turkey. Once they are browned, add the aromatics - the celery, carrot and onion - and saute gently til they are softened. Add the wine and let the alcohol cook off, then put the stock cube, Lea and Perrins, sage and thyme in. Finally add the mushrooms and pepper. Let everything cook through and then at the end add the cornflour paste to thicken it and make it all glossy and lovely.

Assemble it "cottage pie" style, with the meaty filling packed in nice and tight and covered by forked peaks of mashed squash. Nigel Slater suggested adding orange zest to the squash, which I didn't do - I went for a peppery finish, but I am sure both are equally delicious. It needs to go into the oven at around 180 degrees for about 40 minutes, and will sit happily in the fridge if you wanted to make it ahead and come home to it after a nice morning out or whatever (as we did). Ace!

This made a fabulous Sunday lunch and since there's only two of us there's a portion of the meat filling in the freezer for next time Chris's shifts are so awkward we miss each other completely, so it's a win all round!

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