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​Christmas Squash Pithivier

This gorgeous vegetarian Christmas main dish is filled with brandied mushrooms, greens and cranberry chestnut stuffing. The stuffing also doubles as a side dish, as you can make stuffing balls with the remaining mixture. If you're planning a holiday feast, you might also want to consider these other vegetarian main dishes - and puddings of course!

Christmas Squash Pithivier

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Chestnut Cranberry Stuffing

Makes enough to fill 1 squash and make 12 stuffing balls.

  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 75ml brandy
  • 5 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 120g cashews, roasted and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown miso
  • 250g cooked chestnuts, ground
  • 1 apple, grated
  • ½ lemon zest and juice
  • grating of nutmeg
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 100g breadcrumbs

Pithivier

  • 1 large squash, (kabocha, crown prince, onion, blue hubbard, buttercup)
  • ½ recipe chestnut cranberry stuffing (can be made in advance)
  • 2-3 Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 large leaves of kale
  • 200g spinach
  • grate of nutmeg
  • zest from ¼ lemon
  • a drop of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 block puff pastry

Method

Chestnut Cranberry Stuffing

  1. Place the cranberries in a small saucepan with the brandy and bring to a simmer, then take off the heat and set aside.
  2. Fry the sliced shallot in the olive oil with a small pinch of salt until soft and starting to caramelise.
  3. Add the cashews, garlic, rosemary and sage and stir-fry for a few minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the brown miso and ground chestnuts.
  4. Stir though the grated apple and cranberries with the brandy and season to taste with lemon juice and zest, nutmeg and black pepper. 
  5. Add the breadcrumbs – enough to bind everything together.
  6. Use the mixture to stuff the squash bombe, and roll the rest into balls and bake in the oven for 15 minutes before serving.

Pithivier

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160Fan/Gas4.
  2. Roast the squash whole for 40 to 60 minutes depending on its size and thickness of flesh.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then slice off the top portion to create a little ‘hat’.
  4. Scoop out the seeds and sprinkle salt and pepper inside all over the flesh.
  5. Peel the mushrooms. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with the brandy and olive oil and sprinkle on thyme, salt and pepper over the top of each mushroom. Roast for 15 minutes to release the juices and cook through.
  6. Pull the leaves off the stems of the kale and tear into small pieces. Wilt down for a few minutes, then add the spinach for the last 30 seconds to wilt as well. Drain well, squeezing out the excess juices and flavour with salt, pepper, nutmeg, a little olive oil and lemon zest.
  7. Layer the squash, first with a mushroom, then greens then stuffing in 2 to 3 layers of each depending on the size of the squash. Place the lid back on top.
  8. Roll out a block of puff pastry to a large square at 3mm thickness. Use a drinking glass to stamp a ring in the middle of the pastry, then cut out from the edge of that ring using a sharp knife. Mark into 18 to 20 curved lines to look like rays from a sun, on a spiral angle. Place the squash onto a parchment lined baking tray.
  9. Roll the pastry up onto a rolling pin and lift onto the squash. Arrange the strips of pastry around the squash, slightly overlapping if needed, then push in a little underneath the squash to make sure the pastry is flush to the line of the squash and held in place. Trim off the excess leaving a 5cm edging. Roll the edge in to tuck around the base of the squash and pinch a pattern to edge the base of the squash neatly. Use the remaining cut off pieces of pastry to stamp out leaf and berries or another Christmas themed design to decorate the top. Stick the pastry decoration on with a little brush of water.
  10. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Cover with foil if the pastry is browning too quickly.

Tips: 

  • Make sure the squash is cool enough to work with so that the pastry doesn’t get too warm when you cover it. However, don’t cool the stuffed squash in the fridge as the middle is unlikely to heat through enough from fridge temperature by the time the pastry is cooked. 
  • If in doubt over cooking temperature – after 30 minutes, turn the oven down by 30 degrees and bake for longer (up to 1 hour) to ensure the middle is hot.

Comments

Tamara Khayatt on 19th Dec 2015 said:

I just made this, along with the chocolate and brandy-soaked cranberry torte as a pre-Christmas lunch for my meat-eating family. We all thought both were delicious. Thanks for sharing these great recipes

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Monica at Demuths on 29th Dec 2015 said:

So glad you enjoyed your pre-christmas lunch!

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Bethan Daunter on 30th Dec 2015 said:

Hi, I made this for my Mum this Christmas.  Really great recipe full of flavour (I ate the leftovers!). 
I’ve written and linked to the recipe on my blog http://slowthecookdown.com/2015/12/30/post-christmas-round-up/ it’s often really hard to find a veg recipe that meat lovers enjoy as well!

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Pennie on 18th Dec 2016 said:

Hi
This looks like a great Christmas Recipe
Can you eat the Squash peel?

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