I have made this dish a number of times now, and it is one of my autumnal after work favourite dishes. In the past I have substituted the butternut squash with sweet potatoes, or used the two together which have worked just as well. The dish also includes my own red hot chillies.
Chillies are reputed to aid digestion, cure asthma even, and are even rich in Vitamin C. Apparently chillies have aphrodisiac properties too! The chilli pepper comes from a pod like berry of various species of capsicum found in Latin America. As you may already be aware, chillies were discovered by Columbus accidentally - it has since become an essential store cupboard ingredient in many kitchens all over the world.
Although Britain has so many 'Indian' take aways and restaurants, many ironically with the word 'Chillies' in its title, as a nation of 'curry' lovers, however, we Brits are still reluctant to experiment with the chilli. Whereas, in places like India or Mexico, for instance it is eaten daily and added to virtually everything. Apparently in Mexico there are more than 2,000 varieties to choose from. The most familiar of these are jalapenos, seranos, and habaneras. When preparing chillies, handle them with care and avoid touching the eyes. Otherwise, you know what will happen - that burning sensation in the mouth maybe sensational, but not anywhere else on the body.
I am submitting this dish to Lakshmi Venkatesh over at Kitchen Chronicles who is hosting this month's edition of Think Spice - Think Red Chillies, which is a blog event set up by Sunita over at Sunita's World.
As this dish of roasted butternut squash is quite sweet, yes even with the spices and chillies, it is still sweet. I serve it alongside a contrasting flavour such as this lemon griddled broccoli. I just steam the broccoli till tender, then put on a hot griddle pan to char a little. Then simply drizzle with lemon juice and some seasoning which includes a gentle sprinkling of chilli flakes too.
If you have any of this left over, and chances are you probably won’t but just in case. Add the remains to couscous and you have some lunch for tomorrow.
Roasted butternut squash with spiced chickpeas
1 small butternut squash
2 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 spring onions, sliced diagonally including the green parts
2 fresh red chillies, sliced
200g of cooked chickpeas
200ml vegetable stock or water
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of minced coriander
Peel the squash, slice in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the flesh into bite sized pieces. Put them into and large oven proof dish and toss them in 2 tablespoons of oil. Roast at gas mark 5 for about 10 -15 minutes or until tender. Then add 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds to the dish and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Then add the stock or water, salt and minced coriander along with the remaining oil and give it a good stir so to combine. Return to the oven for about 8 minutes so the stock and chickpeas are warmed through. Then serve along with the juices. Adapted from Denis Cotters Cafe Paradiso Seasons.