French family comfort food recipe in one dish. Pre-roasted butternut squash or pumpkin, leeks, ready prepared chestnuts, a subtle warming sprinkle of smoked paprika - all topped with toasted walnuts and bubbling melted cheese.
500g (18oz)butternut squash or pumpkin(weight with seeds removed), cut into rough cubes
2leekscut into slices
200g (7oz)pre-cooked chestnutsI use vacuum-packed but in jars or tins are good too *
110g (4oz)half fat thick crème fraîche12% fat
175g (6oz)Emmental cheesegrated**
1 tbspfresh parsleyfinely chopped
salt & pepperto taste
1/2 tspsmoked paprika
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.Prick the butternut squash's skin and roast it whole (or pumpkin) in the oven for 15 minutes until the skin starts blistering. Remove and leave to cool slightly. Alternatively, prick the skin and put on high in the microwave for 10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and gently sauté the sliced leeks for about 10 minutes until softened. Set aside.
When the squash is easier to handle, peel off the skin and cut in 2 using a good knife. Remove the seeds with a spoon (don't discard) and cut the softened squash into rough chunks.
In a gratin dish, throw in the slightly softened squash chunks, the leeks and cooked chestnut.
Top with the crème fraîche by dolloping on some spoonfuls in regular intervals, add a touch of salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle lightly and evenly the smoked paprika.
Top the lot with the cheese, walnuts and parsley.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
Serve with a good French baguette and a chilled white such as a Riesling from Alsace. If you can't find chestnuts, replace with fresh mushrooms that have been dry fried separately until they lose their juices (to concentrate their flavour).** Emmental Cheese: if following a strict vegetarian diet, ensure it's a vegetarian version.I've added smoked paprika but if you prefer, add 100g of pre-fried lardons or bacon bits.