25 September 2010

Squash Mince Bake

I bought some squash today, after reading this recipe for a summer squash gratin. Then I did some more recipe research and found this squash and pasta recipe, and this squash and mince recipe. A quick poll of some family members showed that the mince recipe was preferred by most, so that is what I ended up cooking.

Cooked for 8 although I should have been cooking for 6 - forgot that a couple of people were out or away. Oh well, leftovers! Oh, and I realized belatedly that this was my last time cooking for the family. We fly out to Korea on Tuesday or Wednesday and my little brother, he of the gap-year, is volunteering to take my culinary place.

Everything on the stove was done on a medium-high to high heat (4 to 6 out of 6, depending).

Peeled and chopped a huuuuge butternut squash (in bite-sized chunks it filled two large roasting trays) with lots of help from my wonderful boyfriend. Mixed with nutmeg, salt+pepper, and sesame oil (we're out of olive) and put in the oven on 180 degrees C. I think they were probably in there for about half an hour, maybe a bit longer, before they started going brown and I took them out to rest.
Defrosted 3 500g packs of mince and chopped 2.5 onions and 3 garlic cloves. Fried in butter. Added the mince to the pan, along with salt+pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar for flavour. Cooked for 10 minutes. Added small bacon bits and cooked for a further 5. Added a hefty dose of tikka curry powder, a big squeeze of tomato puree, and a dash of garlic pepper. Added two tubs of passata, 250ml of cream, splash of HP sauce and some lime juice (we are out of mango chutney, and I had no jam as a viable alternative); also another dash of balsamic vinegar. Simmered for five minutes and added one tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed. Added hot chilli powder along with salt+pepper upon tasting.
Simmered the whole thing for twenty minutes before scooping in the cooling roasted squash pieces. Gently folded the squash through before (with lots of help!) pouring the mixture into a deep baking dish and covering thickly with grated cheese. In the oven at 180 degrees C for twenty minutes.

Oh my god, this was amazing. We served it with some mango chutney, which was bought during the cooking process and only arrived home afterwards. Everyone loved it, and the leftovers were good too (if a little dry).

I'm always on the lookout for fresh mince recipes, because my mince repertoire is sadly lacking: shepherd's pie, spaghetti bolognese and enchiladas is about it. I can see this becoming my fourth!