Three Crowns: winter delights of butternut squash

ANTHONY BYROM, executive head chef at the Three Crowns Restaurant and Inn at Scouthead, looks forward to winter delights of butternut squash

CHEF: Anthony Byrom
CHEF: Anthony Byrom

WE’RE INTO the third season so far with my new found hobby of passing over my recommendations to captivated readers, hopeful that I’m not boring the pants off you blogging about the great British products available to us.

I’d like to say summer is officially ended as I’m sitting in the garden basking in the sun eating English strawberries? But hey, make the most of them both – the northern cold weather is well on the way and even the mighty supermarkets can’t keep churning out of season fruits for much longer.

So the holidays are over and the kids are back to school, reality has kicked back in for the majority of us (especially when receiving the credit card statements!)

It makes a lot of sense if planning a meal or cooking on a budget to look out the for the seasonal foods that are about at the moment – chances are if you find local foods that are growing in abundance then the price should be relatively reasonable.

So what’s out there at the moment? Plenty of orchard fruits apples, pears, plums and many more. And the humble vegetable, so look out for potatoes, beetroots, celeriac, kale and cabbages, all of which can bulk out any casserole or Sunday roast.

But this month I’m going to pay homage to the mighty butternut squash.

One of the most popular and widely available forms of winter squash, it varies in shape from cylindrical to half-dumbbell and its smooth tan exterior hides the deliciously sweet, dense and buttery orange flesh.

The adaptability of the butternut squash is demonstrated by the wide variety of uses to which it is put in different countries. Across the globe it crops up in recipes for stews, gratins, pasta dishes, risottos, soups and curries. When baked and mashed, perhaps with a touch of nutmeg or cinnamon and a splash of cream, it makes a very appetising autumnal side dish.

Squash should feel heavy for their size (indicating a high moisture content – squash gradually lose water after harvesting). Bigger squash generally have a more highly developed flavour.

Once you have gone ten rounds with removing the hard outer skin of the squash simply remove the seeds, chop into chunks and simmer in chicken stock till soft, puree in a blender season with a dash curry powder, salt and pepper, chopped fresh coriander and a swirl of sour cream for a wonderful winter warming soup….easy

Visit The Three Crowns Restaurant and Inn, run by Ray and Sue Hicks, at 955-959 Huddersfield Road, Scouthead, or call them on: 0161 624 1766 or visit their website: www.thethreecrownsinn-scouthead.co.uk

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