Today we started getting in gear for Queen Z’s 1st Birthday Party. Did most of the shopping and I prepared the butter cookies for baking tomorrow morning. So tonight, we wanted a good and simple meal that would nourish us and keep us going! I decided to cook the butternut that has been sitting on the table looking at me friendly like for the last couple of days. My friend, Floating Lemons, posted a recipe on my Facebook page that inspired me.
I decided to make roasted butternut and combine it with toasted spiced walnuts and some gorgeous blue goat’s cheese I found at the market. I wanted to serve it with spinach couscous, which I have made before. As the recipe was coming together, I decided that the butternut and couscous together would be a bit dry – so I made a red wine orange sauce on the fly! I combined the butternut with the walnuts and cheese, placed them on the green flecked couscous, and drizzled the wine sauce over. It was delicious! And a great example of how a recipe can expand as you make it.
This may seem a little complex, but to be honest, I made the whole thing in one small saucepan (with a tight fitting lid!), and a roasting dish. We all have too much on our plates for me to start cooking with a thousand pots, so the recipe will reflect the step by step process I went through. It feels and sounds quite complicated, but if you read the recipe a few times, you will see that its really easy peasy!
I started the butternut roasting and then got on with the rest – toasted the walnuts, chopped the cheese (which you can omit easily if you are vegan), made the sauce and the couscous. By the time the butternut was ready, the other ingredients were just waiting to be combined!
This meal will serve 4 hungry greedy people or 6 refined ones. You can easily cut it in half as well, or double it if needed. Enjoy!
- 1 medium butternut, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 9 – 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the butternut, garlic and olive oil. The oil should lightly coat the butternut, not overwhelm it. Salt and pepper lightly and mix again with your hands to combine.
Line a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the butternut and garlic in a single layer on the pan, and roast for at least 30 minutes (it can go up to about 45) or until the butternut are soft, and slightly caramelised around the edges.
Once the butternut has roasted to your preference, take out of the oven and set aside to cool a little.
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 tsp (or more) paprika
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- A few drops (literally) of olive oil
Chop the walnuts into small chunks, and put them into a non stick saucepan.
Place saucepan over medium heat, and start to toast the walnuts. You need to watch quite carefully so they dont burn, and stir often with a wooden spoon. If you are worried, lower the heat a bit. The oils in the walnuts will release and you will smell the wonderful, unmatchable scent of toasted nuts. Gorgeous.
Once the walnuts have just started to toast, sprinkle the paprika, red pepper and salt over the walnuts and stir to combine. Wait for the spicy scent to hit you and then drop a few drops of olive oil over all, and stir. The olive oil will help the spices adhere to the walnuts.
Toast for about a minute or so more – and taste to see if its to your liking. If so, take off the heat, and set the walnuts aside. I put them in a teacup!
Red Wine Orange Sauce
- 1/2 cup good red wine
- 1/4 cup orange juice – fresh squeezed is best but if you only have orange juice from a carton thats fine too – it will be a bit sweet, and you might have to adjust accordingly.
- 1 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance margarine if you are vegan)
- Salt to taste (I only used a tiny pinch)
- 2 tbsp sour cream (or heavy cream – or if youre vegan, use coconut cream or soy creamer/milk – oat milk would be good here too) – optional
This is not tons of sauce, its just a lick to give moisture and flavour.
Clean out the saucepan, and combine the red wine and orange juice together. Over high heat, bring the mixture to the boil, and boil quite rapidly until reduced by at least a third, and up to half.
Whisk in the butter or margarine, and add salt to taste. You should have quite a thick winey sauce – almost a glaze – with a strong orange flavour. Orange goes beautifully with butternut, so this will only brighten its amazing taste.
Whisk in the sour cream, if using, until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust salt. You could add some pepper as well, though I chose not to.
Pour into a teacup or mug (or small bowl, if youre fancy!) and set aside.
- 10 oz (about 280 g) box of couscous
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 cup raw baby spinach, minced
Clean out your saucepan again, and heat water, butter or olive oil and salt until the water comes to a full boil. Stir in the couscous, and take the saucepan off the heat. Cover with lid, and allow to sit for five minutes.
Mince the spinach very fine.
Remove the lid from the saucepan, and using a fork, fluff the couscous. Add the spinach all at once and mix thoroughly to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Roasted Butternut and Garlic
- Toasted Walnuts
- 1/2 cup blue goat’s cheese or chevre (optional)
- Red Wine Orange Sauce
- Spinach Couscous
The roasted butternut should have cooled a bit to room temperature.
In the roasting tin, combine the butternut, walnuts and cheese (if youre using). Mix well. Drizzle about half of your red wine sauce over and toss gently to combine.
Arrange the spinach couscous on a serving platter or in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and place the butternut mixture into the well. Drizzle the rest of the red wine sauce over, and serve. Enjoy with loved ones.
PS – the leftovers are divine for lunch the next day, tossed together as a salad – or you could bring the whole thing on a picnic as a salad – its good cold too!