05/07/2011

Butternut Squash Kutta

Butternut Squash Kutta is a Middle-Eastern dish centred around butternut squash and flavoured with all manner of accompaniments including spices, chillis, olives, capers and a sprinkling of nuts - almonds or pistachio.

Often served over cous cous or rice (see the main picture taken prior to me moving over to paleo), we can easily make this a paleo dish. Taking that inspiration and working in the requisite amount of meat or fish and serving over something like strong green vegetables, this delicious dish can be made into a paleo tour de force!

So, let's build the dish ...

Assemble the ingredients - butternut squash, other vegetables such as stringless green beans, peas, green peppers, olives, capers, harissa paste, onions, garlic, smoked salt, cumin and coriander.

You can use meat, but my suggestion would be for meatballs - beef or lamb would both be fine. Fish is another great inclusion and a strong white fish like cod or haddock is perfect; smoked even better. If you're going to have meatballs, prepare them, fry them off in fat and set them aside.

Begin with a glug of avocado oil in a pan on a medium heat and sweat off half a large onion.

Add in a tin of plum tomatoes and break them down to a rough paste, adding in a good squirt of tomato puree. Add water, maybe half a pint.

Cut up butternut squash into good chunks and add to the pan along with good sized pieces of green pepper.

Add some garlic, a couple of chillis, a helping of capers, a teaspoon of harissa paste and a sprinkle or so of cumin. Chop coriander stalks and add them at this stage. Salt to taste using pure sea salt.

Cook the dish at a good simmer for half an hour, adding the already cooked meatballs, or uncooked fish in about a quarter of an hour from the end.

Meanwhile boil or steam some strong green vegetables like tenderstem broccoli, kale or spring greens.

Just prior to serving, stir in some olives - green or black, any will be fine.

Plate up serving the Kutta over the vegetables. Garnish with coriander leaves and some nuts - almond, pistachio or pine nuts are all good. Slices of avocado would be an excellent accompaniment as well.

Kutta is about trying things out - there is a core recipe based around butternut squash, but add in what you think will work well. I hope I have mentioned a few ingredients which will inspire you. The dish should be fresh, warm, aromatic and deep.

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