Harlequin Squash, Apple and Sage Stuffing

Another year, another stuffing recipe.

Harlequin stuffing, familiar? We’re back with another potato recipe, traditional Irish recipe at that, being converted into a harlequin one. This time we’ve ditched the sausage and opted for apple. Now, less of this we, dear reader, it’s my show. I found I couldn’t tolerate pork, doubt I ever could, why? Who knows. Why is there so much Jack can’t eat and yet he has so many recipes? He’s a wonder, humble too. Stuffing varies from place to place, I see it often online as this bread cube lumpy concoction and that isn’t the stuffing I grew up with. This is childhood taste revisited, or as close as I can make it. Stuffing was mashed potato, onion, sage, rarely fresh, but I like it fresh, and sausage. It was billowy, creamy and crusty on top and delicious. It has been a long time since I have had it. Last year I made a meat version, this year, aside from the butter but margarine could replace, I never list until I’ve tried and soy allergy stops that trial, but you’re creative dear readers, I know you’ll manage. Er, rambling there, sorry, aside from the butter it could easily be vegan. I tried it unbaked and it is worth making. Tomorrow I’ll bake it and add a photo if I remember.

Rake the tops and hope for crusty stuffing. The taste of childhood revisited.

So, yeah, addressing the giant berry in the room, you need harlequin for this. It’s the best potato substitute I’ve ever eaten. It’s dry at first when you’ve freshly steamed it, but add the buttery onion and apple, a delicious aromatic variation I have to admit, and suddenly it’s this creamy, fluffy mixture. My sage wasn’t in it’s prime and I had to add a little dried to up the taste, but you could use all dry if you can’t get fresh, use a third of what’d you use in fresh. Three ingredients are from my garden. The squash, sage and onion. There is a huge benefit over the pork version, you can freeze this. My Mother warmed me of freezing sausage meat and I stay away from it, this though can be frozen. Handy as it does make quite a bit. I went by the squash, but you can adjust it as you see fit. Try other vegetables and let me know how it fared. I’ll see you again, dear reader.

Ingredients

375g Harlequin Squash, Peeled and Cubed
125g Cooking Apple, Peeled and Chopped Fine
50g Butter
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Chopped Fine
16-20 Fresh Sage Leaves, Chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Makes about four 170g Servings

Method

1. Steam the Harlequin Squash and place into a bowl, Mash and set aside.

2. Chop the Onion and Apple finely and fry in Butter until Onion is translucent and Apple tender. Add the Onion and Apple mix, Sage, Salt and Pepper to the Harlequin Squash and mash everything together. Taste test and add more Sage, Dried if there’s no more Fresh, if required.

3. Scoop mixture into a greased baking dish and smooth down. Bake at 200c (Fan) for half an hour. For a crispier top grill for the final 5 minutes. If freezing divide and freeze in tin trays.

Creamy and delicious.

Herb Butter

I just had enough sage.

Original can be found here. You know this recipe, you’ve seen it dozens of times, there’s nothing new here, it’s just that I’ve never had a reason to make it before. Herb butter sounds great, but I don’t often use better when coking, at least not when I’m using herbs. But, I figured out a use. My mother makes stuffing and uses fresh sage, but often the sage isn’t ready when she’s making it, so since she fries her onions in butter I thought this would be an ideal solution. I did tweak it one way as you can see below. You’d be best to use freshly picked herbs, the smell of the fresh sage is intense, even for a older plant. I hate to make something like this without reason, last year I froze herbs in olive oil and struggled to use them, I think a fair few went into the bin, this is ideal as they’ll be used up fairly quickly. If you want really fast stuffing you can also blitz the onions and freeze them the same way. A quickie, but handy to know. See you later, dear reader.

Already popped and bagged.

Ingredients

110g Butter, Softened
1/4 Fresh Herbs, Chopped
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Can be frozen.

Method

1. Add everything to a bowl and stir together until Herbs have been evenly distributed throughout the butter. Scoop in a container, roll into a clingfilm log or fill into ice-cube trays.

Savoury Raspberry Sauce

Tweaked slightly from here.

I want to have you over for a duck dinner, dear reader, you bring the duck. Yeah, I’ve omitted the largest part of this recipe, there is no duck, but I happened to have everything needed for the sauce. I had fresh sage from the garden, raspberries I harvested in he freezer, even my own Raspberry Jelly, just opened. I wanted a sauce using raspberries with no vinegar or wine, apparently that’s not an easy find, but I lucked out, by which I mean I searched Google for hours and stumbled across this. For a change I’ve made a full recipe, I just froze the other three servings. It’s a hassle when you’re only one person eating, but it offers an interesting insight, which is that when you strip away the pretence, this sauce won’t be drizzled artistically over sliced duck breast nor served to discerning diners, you can still taste the same dish, but without the intimidation that recipes like this often bring.  Fancy French sauce meet Jack, as uncouth as they come but with a knack for finding the foods he can eat and making them work if he can’t. I did replace the walnuts with pecans and I think it might be better, hard to tell not having tried the original, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s talk technique, taste and t-t-er…

Tastebud tantalisation?

It’s rare I have everything needed just hanging around.

There’s not really a whole lot to this, there’s a long list of ingredients, but you’ll just be boiling and simmering. My sauce was a little thin, but as I’m reheating it I’d rather leave it that way, basically if you’d rather a thicker sauce just boil it rather than simmer it, the consistency before you add the nuts and raspberries won’t be that different after you add them. Boiling it before means you won’t lose the fresh taste of the final additions. Like I said I’m using frozen raspberries, I was weary that the seeds wold be distracting, but thanks to the pecans you hardly notice them. It’s a thin sauce with a chunky texture, it’s really varied in every regard, the taste is where this shines. I’m no great taster, but even I could appreciate this. There’s a tartness from the raspberries, with an underlying sweetness from the jelly, contrasted by the acidic orange, the warm spices hit alongside the nuttiness of the toasted pecans, it all comes in order as if planned. For a few ingredients tossed into a pot the gestalt of this sauce is far far greater than I’d have expected. In saying that, Jack popping up again, it’s still just a sauce, simple to prepare, so don’t think you need anything special to prepare this, fiddle with it and see what you can make of it. It’s a fun way to use berries that would have just ended up as jam. I’m just saying that if you’re new to cooking or struggling to find new dishes to suit your diet then don’t be afraid to try. Failure teaches and you’ll be surprised at how often you’ll succeed when you try. Okay, I’ll see you soon, dear reader and don’t forget that duck.

Not so fancy, but still delicious.

Ingredients

120ml Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
110g/1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Raspberries
100g Seedless Raspberry Jelly
60ml Chicken Stock
35g/1/4 Cup Toasted Pecans, Roughly Chopped
1 Tbsp/15g Butter
1 Tsp Fresh Sage, Torn
1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/8 Tsp Ground Allspice Berries
Pinch Sea Salt

Makes 4 Servings.
Can be Frozen.

Method

1. Add the Orange Juice and Chicken Stock to a pot, heat on high and boil, uncovered, until sauce has reduced to about 60ml or 1/4 Cup.

2. Add 1/4 of the Raspberries, Raspberry Jelly, Ginger, Allspice and Salt. Whisk everything together, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add Butter, whisk until melted then add Pecans, reaming Raspberries and Sage. Stir everything together, return to the heat and bring to a boil, cook until heated through. Pour over meat.

Harlequin Squash, Sausage and Sage Stuffing

2017 Update: Due to a problem with Photobucket, see here, there will be a lot of recipes without photos. I will be slowly redoing the recipe pages, as best I can, but many other posts will be impossible to replace. I’m doing this in my own time, while continuing to update the blog with new recipes and posts. If you’d like to donate, any amount appreciated, you can do so here. The site will always be free, the recipes will never be locked behind a paywall, but this is a lot of additional work. I’m not demanding or begging, just putting it there so if you feel like repaying my hard work you have that option. I don’t make any money from the site, all that I do here is to help others, I couldn’t charge for that.

It’s rather colourful, isn’t it?

Okay, let’s start at the screw up and then never again mention it. The balls didn’t pan out, the stuffing was perfect other than that. Just follow the recipe and you’ll be fine. I never make mistakes, dearest reader, I merely travel a different path than the one intended. Okay, I make plenty of mistakes, but I try to learn from them. Thankfully this worked really wonderfully, it just didn’t get the crispy outside I wanted. So I used my knowledge from all the times I’ve used it as a topping for cottages pies and we’re good. Handy, huh? Now, there may be some confusion as to what constitutes stuffing, everything you know is wrong, the end. What? I was kidding…for all you know. This is my Mother’s potato stuffing recipe, the potato is replaced with glorious Harlequin Squash. Now, if you’ve never had an Irish Mammy, then you’ve never heard an Irish Mammy’s recipe. I have it typed out below, but it’s basically:

“Well, however much you want. How much do you eat? That’s enough, unless you want more. I have no idea”

Etc Etc, writing down recipe or exact amounts aren’t common methods with Irish Mammies. At least not mine. Thankfully it passed the test with her too. There aren’t a slew of Traditional  Irish recipes, I have a handful here and there, but it’s a problem of a lot of Traditional Food being so basic it’s near impossible to adapt to my diet or it comes from a packet and you can’t exactly replicate that. There’s always confusion to what we eat. Simple fare and foreign dishes seem to sum it up. Chances are you may have a weird idea of the Irish. I blame movies. This stuffing is a real Irish recipe, simple, but versatile. It can be a side dish, balled if you use potato, probably I’m not one hundred percent sure, and can be used to stuff a chicken or a breast. If you can eat potato just swap it for the squash. Other squash won’t work the same here. Not to say you can’t, they just won’t taste the same.

Foil trays because the kitchen is being renovated and it’s a holy disgrace.

The stuffing, like anything baked with this squash, is creamy and much too good. Sage and sausage really is a great combination. I think fresh is best when it comes to sage in this recipe, but you could try it with dried, reduce it to a third of what you’d use in leaves. It was really hard to get suitable sausages for me, I had to buy them in Marks and Spencer’s and they’re really costly. I can’t eat added starches, so it has to be all meat and little else. The availability of ingredients made this recipe a must try. I had fresh sage growing, harlequin squash cured and sausages in the freezer. That’s a rarity. As I say below you can grill the top for a crispy layer and you can ball it, but they won’t crisp up. They still taste the same it’s just messier than scooping it into a dish. This doesn’t freeze due to the sausage and sage. It’s nicest fresh anyway.

Delicious.

Ingredients

125g Harlequin Squash, Cubed
1 Pork Sausage
1/4 Large Yellow Onion
4-6 Fresh Sage Leaves, Chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Method

1. Steam the Harlequin Squash and place into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Chop the Onion finely and fry in Butter until translucent. Add the Sage and fry for one minute. Add the Onion mix, the meat from the Sausage, discarding the casing, Salt and Pepper to the Harlequin Squash and mash everything together.

3. Scoop mixture into a greased baking dish and smooth down. Bake at 200c (Fan) for half an hour. For a crispier top grill for the final 5 minutes.

Butternut Squash Gravy

I Tried to make it fancy…Really.

I’ve seen a few vegetable thickened gravies around, but the problem was  either a vegetable I couldn’t eat or there was just too many ingredients or, rather, too specific ingredients. So I decided to tackle it myself. This is pretty loose as ingredients go, you could take out the herbs here and replace them with what ever you’d prefer. Add a bay leaf, toss in fresh meat juices, whatever you like. I really was surprised how little this tasted like Butternut Squash in stock, the taste is there, but it’s not over powering, the herbs really shine through and the squash gives it a rich, thick texture without being heavy. I’ll be honest, gravy for me was usually just packaged stuff so I don’t really have any tricks or secrets to share. Fresh herbs are a game changer, but dried are fine too.

It’s stupidly simple, but a really tasty gravy.

The problem with being a single cook is that a squash leaves a lot left over. I had some Sautéed Squash with this and I still have three servings of gravy in my freezer. It’ll be fine, I’ve had a similar recipe in my Squash Pasta and that heats as well after being frozen as it does when cooked fresh. You could conceivably use any vegetable, but you may be best to stick to something that wouldn’t over power the dish. I remember seeing a recipe for white sweet potato gravy, somewhere. Sadly I can’t get a wide selection of vegetables where I am, but the squash works well. If you needed a nut free, flour free, vegan etc option this would be great for the holidays, or any day. I have one more recipe, hopefully it works out, incoming, but that should end the deluge of posts. Back to normal next week or as normal as this posting schedule gets. Until later. Goodbye and good gravy!

Ingredients

300g Butternut Squash, Peeled and Cubed
600ml Stock (Chicken, Beef, Vegetable etc)
1/4 Tsp Sage or 1 Tsp Fresh Sage, Chopped
1/4 Tsp Thyme or 1 Tsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 Tsp Parsley or 1 Tsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Makes 4 Servings. If making individual servings portion it out (About 200ml each) after blending and freeze it. Defrost when wanted and use as normal.

Method

1. Add everything to a pot and bring to the boil, stir it up, reduce to a simmer and cook until squash is tender.

2. Pour into a blender and blitz until smooth or use a stick blender. Return it to the pot or a pan and cook on a medium heat until gravy has reduced to desired consistency.

It’s not soup. Well, it is, kinda. Let’s call it gravy.