WTSIM#8 – Roasted butternut on the barbecue stuffed with spinach and feta

by Jeanne on August 25, 2007

in Braai/Barbecue, Events - Waiter, there's something in my..., Recipes - gluten-free, Recipes - South African, Recipes - vegetarian, South African products, Vegetable side dishes

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As I’ve written on this blog before, the South African braai is usually a meat-heavy affair.  Sure, there may be salads on the side, but essentially it’s all about protein.  Pity the poor vegetarian who arrives unannounced at the average braai. It’s going to be a long night picking over the salads, mate!  All of which is rather a pity because, much as I like braaied meat, you can do so much more on a fire.  As a kid I remember at every braai there were potatoes (and sometimes onions) wrapped in foil lying amongst the coals.  Once they were done, you got the whole steaming parcel dumped on your plate and had to extract the vegetable without suffering serious burns.  The outer layer of skin was invariably blackened, but if sliced open, the potatoes were soft and creamy and went down a smoky treat with butter.  And later, there were the joys of fish braais, braai sarmies and roosterbrood.

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Cecil had already let me know that he would provide the meat (his fabulous lamb sosaties) and salads, so because no South African can ever arrive at anybody’s house for a meal without something to contribute I arrived with the vegetables.  Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables.  You can keep it in your kitchen for a week or two without it showing any ill effects (try THAT with baby spinach!!); you can roast it; you can steam and mash it; you can slice and bake it with cream; or you can stuff it.  It’s the last option that I had gone for on this occasion, so Cecil was presented with a neat tinfoil parcel containing a stuffed half-butternut that he had to find space for in the coals.

The only trick with this dish is to make sure that you don’t put it on the coals so early that the whole thinng is incierated, and to make sue the tinfoil is reasonably well-sealed so that it does not dry out.  The time to put it in the coals is once the flames have died down and the coals are ashed over.  Then snuggle it warmly among the coals and leave alonne for 45 minutes or so.  Cecil managed to poke copious holes in the foil parcel with the business end of the skewers, so the flesh got a lovely woodsmoke flavour – fabulous.  It’s not only a fantastic side dish, but also pretty close to the perfect vegetarian main course for non-meat-eating braai guests.

As I said, this particular example was served with sosaties, salad, good friends, a great view of London, a spectacular bottle of Springfield Sauvignon Blanc (amongst other things!) and a walk  on Primrose Hill.

Perfection on a Sunday afternoon.

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ROASTED BUTTERNUT STUFFED WITH SPINACH AND FETA (serves 8)

Ingredients: 20070812_roastedbutternutdetail
one large butternut squash
about a cup of cooked spinach (I used tinned)
250g feta cheese
6-8 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
olive oil
dried rosemary

Method

Wash the butternut and slice it in half longitudinally, leaving two elongated halves.  Scoop out all the seeds from the lower half.

Sautee the shallots and garlic in a little EVOO until soft.  Make sure you have removed as much water as possible from the spinach and mix into the onions.  Heat through, then remove from heat.

Stir in the crumbled feta into the mix (reserve some for topping), season to taste with salt, pepper and rosemary.  Scoop the mixture into the hollow of the butternut.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprnkle with feta and rosemary and wram tightly in aluminium foil.

Place in the coals of a BBQ fire nce the coals are ashed over.  Leave for 40-45 minutes, testing for doneness with a skewer or sharp knife.  Serve when soft. (You may need to scoop the flesh carefully off the skin as it may have blackened a little.)

This is my submission to this month’s edition of Waiter, There’s Something in My…  I’m hosting this month and the theme is meatless barbecue.  Although the deadline is Mon 27th, I am still on my way home from Austria, so I won’t get to the roundup till mid-week.  So if you want to play, there’s still time!  Check my announcement post for submission instructions.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Kalyn August 25, 2007 at 3:13 pm

Jeanne, I just love the sound of this recipe. I’m growing this type of squash in my garden and last weekend I cut some up in cubes, tossed with olive oil, chiffonade of fresh sage, and pepper and roasted it on top of the grill. I really enjoy the flavor of butternut squash. I’ll link to this recipe when I do my post!

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Scott at Realepicurean August 25, 2007 at 4:16 pm

Butternut squash is fab. It’s such an excellent, soft fleshed squash and works well when stuffed.

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Matt August 26, 2007 at 12:48 am

Your butternut squash recipe seems so Greek with the spinach and feta. And serving it with the lamb sosaties makes it seem more Mediterranean. Do you have the lamb sostaties recipe available?

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Kit August 26, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Butternut is my favourite braai vegetable too. I’m struggling with my contribution as the weather here is still wet, wet, wet. i may have to do a fictional entry if that is allowed – what I would have cooked had the weather been braaiable!
That Springfield Sauvignon Blanc is wonderful, as near South African perfection as you can get in London, I should think!

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Valli August 27, 2007 at 3:24 pm

What a wonderful way to cook up a squash, butternut or otherwise. Love, love, love the falvour combinations with the feta.

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Patricia Scarpin August 27, 2007 at 7:27 pm

This is delicious! Who needs meat with such a wonderful combination of veggies?

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Susan from Food Blogga August 27, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables and to have it grilled with feta and spinach? Oh, my, that sounds like perfection! I have never grilled it before, but that will certainly change now. Thanks for the delicious idea, Jeanne!
BTW- I submitted a post to this month’s WTSIM to your (work email?) I think. When I tried to open your email from the announcement page, I was bombarded with error messages and never did reach it. Please let me know if you don’t get it or need me to re-send it. Thanks, Jeanne! :)

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David August 29, 2007 at 6:33 am

I LOVE butternut squash, but for some reason they’re hard to find here. (In some places in Italy they call them ‘violin squash’ because of their shape.)
Maybe we need to take a trip to Italy!
xo

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The Culinary Chase August 29, 2007 at 8:34 am

I love squash done this way & am a big fan of feta & spinach! Cheers!

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Jeanne August 29, 2007 at 6:15 pm

Hi Kalyn
Ooooh, butternut and sage! What a happy, happy marriage. That sounds like a wounderul recipe. What I love about butternut squash is how versatile it is – bake it, roast it, steam & mash it, make soup…
Hi Scott
I agree – see my comment above :)
Hi Matt
South Africa has a thriving Greek community and I think that is indeed where our love affair with spinach and feta springs from. It is a regular feature on South African menus! The sosaties taste markedly un-Greek, but are delicious nonetheless. I have now added a link to the sosatie recipe to my post – see above.
Hi Kit
I believe (from my dad and Nick’s mom) that the weather is still miserable :( At least you have a long hot summer to look forward to, whereas I feel distinctly cheated this year! Roll on February and my trip to PE, Cape Town and Plett ;-) Fictional entries always welcome. And lucky you, you can drive over to Springfield and pick up a few bottles at the source! I also love their Methode Ancienne Chardonnay.
Hi Valli
And it’s also dead easy – which is always a winner in my book. I also thing the flavour combo realyl works. The other thought I had was to sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top after you unwrap the foil and before you serve…
Hi Patricia
My thoughts exactly! And it’s a lot easier on the tummy :)
Hi Susan
Yup, I got your contribution – thanks! Now all I have to do is find time to do the roundup… And you must must must try the spinach-feta-butternut combo. It is really a good one and it’s easy to make a lot for a big BBQ party :)
Hi David
Re. trip to Italy – I’ve been saying that for years :P And they do look like violins, if rather rounded violins… They used to be hard to find here but are now fairly common. When my sister emigrated to France almost 30 years ago she used to smuggle gem squash seeds out with her to plant in her garden as she missed them so much and they were just not available in France. Maybe squash is not the French way?!
Hi Culinary Chase
In that case you MUST try this recipe. It brings out the flavours in all the ingredients beautifully :)

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Marta September 5, 2007 at 7:44 am

Such a great idea!!! I think I’m going to try to make it in the oven. It sounds like it could be perfect for wintertime, that way.. But your idea is just great. :)

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Paula from Only Cookware September 17, 2007 at 8:59 am

This looks absolutely devine. I have no idea what EVOO is but I am sure its some type of oil. Bit cold where I am to use the bbq but I am sure it will work just as nice in the oven. You have a very nice blog by the way. Hope you can check out mine at some point at: http://www.only-cookware.com/blog/

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Dallas Wheeler October 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Extra Virgin Olive Oil = EVOO

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