The perfect side dish for your Christmas dinner
This method and combination of flavours will work perfectly well with butternut squash, but do try one of the many varieties of winter squash if you can. I made this with an onion squash—the compact, dense orange spherical ones—and I was really pleased with the savoury flavour and meaty yet creamy flesh. Delicata would be particularly cracking too.
As always, the better the lardons, the better the result. Same with the chestnuts. Any of the Market butchers will sell you excellent smoked lardons and I’ve been really impressed with the cooked chestnuts at Brindisa and Le Marche du Quartier.
1 onion or other winter squash (approx 1kg)
5 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
150g smoked lardons
100g cooked chestnuts
1 large sprig of rosemary
Preheat the oven to 240C. Wipe the squash clean. Cut in half, scoop the seeds out. Cut each into 4-5cm wide wedges. Put on a shallow baking tray. Drizzle the oil over the top and mix with your hands to ensure all the squash is glossy. Cook in the top of the hot oven for 15 mins.
In the meantime, roughly quarter the chestnuts, strip the leaves from the rosemary and finely chop.
After 15 mins, remove from the squash from the oven and carefully flip the wedges onto a different edge. Distribute the lardons in the baking tray and return to the oven for 10 mins more.
Add the chestnuts and sprinkle the rosemary over the top of the squash. Return to the oven and cook for a final 5-10 mins, removing when the bacon is golden and crisp, the squash tender of flesh, and caramelised and blistered at the edges.
Recipe and image: Ed Smith