I find that with all this January healthy eating lark it’s a lot easier to take things steadily, rather than going cold turkey after all that, well, turkey. Yes, we’re all in need of a little more nourishment and a little less indulgence but it’s still winter so comfort and warmth are still on the menu.
Butternut squash, kale and apple. All nutrient rich and so very good for you. Crème fraîche and cheese…not so much, but we can’t be good all the time can we. This is such a comforting winter side dish, super-satisfying for vegetarians or a great accompaniment to roast pork.
300g butternut squash (approx 1/2 a small one)
1 medium eating apple (something tart)
2-3 really big handfuls of curly kale
butter for greasing
2 sprigs of sage
salt and pepper
200g crème fraîche
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
50g mature cheddar, grated
3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and generously grease a deep baking dish.
Wash and dry the apple and the veg and then lightly steam the kale. Squeeze any excess moisture out of it and then set it aside. Finely chop the sage and put this to one side too.
I don’t bother to peel any of the fruit/veg, I’m pretty certain we’ve all got better things to do with our time. De-seed the squash and core the apple and then slice them and the potato as thinly as you can.
Layer half of the potato into the baking dish, lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on a little of the chopped sage. Top this with half of the squash and season again with salt, pepper and sage. Spread the kale onto the squash and then follow this with the apple slices. Season again and then layer on the last of the squash. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Finish off with a layer of potato. Whisk together the crème fraîche, milk and nutmeg and then pour this all over the top.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Mix together the cheese, breadcrumbs and any remaining sage. Remove the foil and scatter this over the top. Return the dish to the oven (uncovered) and bake for a further 15 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be tender and the topping should be enticingly golden.