This recipe is a modified and more filling variation on one of my previous recipes. I actually (and possibly controversially!) used basmati rice here for a change in texture, which gave it a bit of a pilaf feel. I have found that roasting the butternut squash in the smoked paprika intensifies the flavour nicely.
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm dice.
1 medium onion red or white, finely chopped
2 medium courgettes, roughly chopped
4 tbs olive oil
1 each of red and orange pepper (or a combination of any), finely sliced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
250g frozen peas
2 bay leaves
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
Large pinch of saffron threads
300g basmati rice
150ml medium sherry (optional)
500ml hot vegetable stock (from bouillon)
A handful pitted olives, halved
3 tbs fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 220C and place the butternut squash cubes in a large baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the smoked paprika. Roast to 20 minutes until soft.
2. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan or wok and gently shallow fry the onion for approximately 5 minutes then add the peppers and fry gently for a further 5 minutes.
3. Add the roasted butternut squash cubes, mushrooms, and diced courgette, then the garlic and the remaining spices and stir in thoroughly. Slowly add the rice and stir continuously for 3 minutes before adding the saffron and sherry.
4. Bring to the boil then add the stock and season. Reduce the heat and simmer gently uncovered for approximately 25 minutes.
5. Add the frozen peas and stir gently. Take off the heat, cover and allow rest for 15 minutes.
6. Add the olives and parsley and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice if preferred then season to taste.
Serve immediately with plenty of freshly baked crusty bread.