Stuffed butternut squash with sweet pepper sauce

  • 2 medium butternut squashes
  • 225g (8oz) ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 large onion
  • 110g (4oz) smoked streaky bacon (optional)
  • 3 ribs of celery
  • A small bunch of mixed fresh herbs
  • 10 dried apricots (pre-soaked variety)
  • 110g (4oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk

For the sauce:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • A few drops of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/gas mark 6).

Peel the squash and cut through it separating the straight end from the bulbous end.

Cut the straight end into wedges and the bulbous end in half through the circumference.

Remove the seeds.

You will now have four pieces of squash with a natural well in them and several wedges.

Brush them all with olive oil, season and roast in a hot oven for about 25 minutes, or until just cooked.

Allow them to cool.

To make the stuffing, chop the onion, celery and bacon and fry in a little oil until it begins to colour.

Remove from the heat.

Chop the herbs and apricots and add these along with the breadcrumbs.

Mix well, taste and add a little more seasoning if needed.

Cut the pastry into four pieces and roll each piece into a rectangle approximately 15 x 10cm.

Cut the pastry through the length with a lattice cutter and then turn the pastry over.

Fill the well of the four squash pieces with the stuffing and place them, stuffing side down, in the middle of the pastry.

Wet the edges of the pastry and wrap them around the squash.

Turn the parcels over and place them on a baking tray.

Brush lightly with egg yolk and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the sauce: chop the onions, garlic, peppers and tomatoes.

Sweat the onion and garlic in the oil without colouring.

Add the peppers and tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and vinegar and add about 100ml of water.

Cover and simmer slowly until all the vegetables are soft.

Puree in a liquidiser and pass through a fine sieve.

Taste and boil down if it is too thin.

Serve around the stuffed squashes and a salad.

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