Well this probably should have been a Christmas post but with all the hustle and bustle and manic cooking I somehow forgot to take any photos of this great side dish. Not to worry though, I wanted an excuse to make it again, so I did. Butternut squash is, as you can probably tell by looking at my recipe index, one of my favourite vegetables. It can do no wrong and works in all manner of recipes soup, salad, pizza, tagines… So often it is the star of the show but it is also happy to sit alongside other dishes as part of your supper spread. It is especially good served with roasted meats (pork and chicken in particular) or brasied casseroles, cooked long and low, which should always be paired with some kind of mash to transport you into comfort-food nirvana.
A crunchy crust of cheesy breadcrumbs makes an elegant bake from such a simple mash and something that I will happily eat for dinner with a fresh, green salad. The squash and parsnip complement each other very well producing a rich, almost buttery mash that has a pleasently chuncky texture – if you’re a smooth mash lover this is one you may want to avoid! A dash of cream adds an extra indulgent flavour and, given that there’s no butter, is not too over the top but by all means leave it out or sub some low fat crème fraîche if you’re so inclined. The only caveat of this dish is that when you roast the squash and parsnip (which really must be roasted to bring out their sweetness) you need to go against your better judgement and cram all the veggies on to a small tray rather than spread them out. We don’t want crsipy parsnips here; by smooshing everything together the veg will part steam, part roast which means they become beautifully soft and easy to mash.
Butternut and parsnip mash
Serves 4–6 as a side or just me over a day or two!
- 400g butternut sqaush, peeled and cut into large dice
- 300g parsnips, peeled and cut into similar-sized chunks
- 30ml double cream
- salt and pepper
- 50g breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 25g parmesan, finely grated
- olive oil
Toss the butternut squash and parsnip witha little oilve oil, place on a small rasting tray so the chunks are close together, and roast at 200°C for 30 minutes until soft.
Place the roasted veg into a bowl and mash, it won’t be a very smooth mash but there shouldn’t be any big lumps.
Stir in the cream and salt and pepper to taste.
Spread into an oven-safe dish.
Mix the breadcrumbs. thyme and cheese and sprinkle on top. Drizzle over a little olive oil and bake (still at 200°C) for 30 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp.
The mash can be made a day in advance and topped just before baking.