At this time of year where late summer drifts into early autumn and warm, sunny afternoons are punctuated by misty mornings and a slight chill in the air I find myself feeling very happy and content with my lot. I’m looking forward to snuggly winter which will bring a family wedding, my birthday and, hopefully, a finished kitchen. But I’m jumping ahead; there’s so much to enjoy in these harvest months. The squirrels I can see from the window are busy scampering about preparing for winter. Veggie boxes are brimming with goodies and the hedgerows are laden with hazelnuts, sloes and blackberries which I need to hurry up and pick before the Devil spits on them on the 29th!
About this time last year I fell head-over-heels for the darling little orange Kuri squash at the farmer’s market. They are just so cute! (In my head I’m saying that in a silly baby-talk voice.) Kuri squash have a buttery chestnut flavour and a rich, creamy texture; their diminutive size means you can easily roast them whole, stuffed with your favourite filling such as chilli or bread, cream and cheese. I’ve been working them squash into soups and salads but I am particularly fond of this side dish which combines late summer sweetcorn, toasted until golden, and early autumn squash with double cream and parmesan. Sweet, earthy and creamy, this mash goes really well with roasted chicken or spicy sausages. The cheese doesn’t overwhelm the vegetables but provides a salty edge and emphasizes the nutty flavour of the toasted corn. And it’s got such a bright, cheery colour (don’t adjust your TV sets, that photo’s not had its colours tweaked) it’ll brighten up any table.
Creamed squash and corn
Serves 4–6 as a side
- 1 small Kuri squash (about 750g)
- 150ml vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cobs of corn
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crush and chopped
- 50ml double cream
- 25g parmesan
- salt and pepper
Peel the squash, remove the stem and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut the flesh into small pieces.
Put the squash in a pan with the stock, cover and cook over a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until it has mostly broken down and gone soft. Stir frequently and add more water if it seems too dry or sticks to the bottom. Mash into a smooth puree.
Heat the oil over a low heat and cook the shallot for 5 minutes until it starts to soften.
Peel the corn, remove the strings and cut the kernels from the cob. Add to the shallot with the garlic. Turn up the heat and cook for 5–8 minutes until golden and toasty.
Stir the cream and parmesan into the squash. Add the corn, stir to mix and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste, top with parmesan shavings and serve.