RECIPE: Sabrina Ghayour’s comforting butternut squash and chilli dish

Sabrina Portrait (c) Kris Kirkham

Sabrina Portrait (c) Kris Kirkham - Credit: Archant

Yorkshire Life columnist Sabrina Ghayour’s welcomes autumn with this tasty crowd-pleaser

Garlic & chilli mashed butternut squash

Garlic & chilli mashed butternut squash - Credit: Archant

As autumn draws near and September welcomes us with its warm light and amber and terracotta hues, I am always reminded of the poetry of John Keats’ Ode to Autumn… “Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom friend of the maturing sun”. I mean, doesn’t that just beautifully sum up the season yet to come?

I absolutely love autumn, from its spectacular colours to the wonderful bounty of its seasonal fruit and vegetables, it really is magical in every sense. September carries a special sentiment for me because it was on September 2, a couple of years ago, when I first fell in love with Yorkshire and decided I wanted to live here.

It was an unusually warm day, 25 degrees and gloriously sunny and we were staying in Oldstead to eat at The Black Swan. I’ll never forget that day, everything about it had me spellbound. And now, I eagerly await all the beautiful colours of autumn as the leaves and landscapes change to warmer tones.

Food wise, it is prime game season and also stone and orchard fruits, root vegetables and squashes as well as mushrooms and much, much more.

For a cook like me, it turns me giddy at the prospect of such bounty and also signals the start of comfort food and colder months ahead. So, today’s recipe, rather appropriately, is a wonderfully flavourful yet incredibly simple dish… my garlic and chilli mashed butternut squash, finished with a swirl of creamy tahini to give it a rich finish. It is so good, I can happily eat it all by itself, without any accompaniment. It also makes a fantastic pairing with a whole assortment of slow-roasted meats, which is, if I’m honest, is what this season really is all about.


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‘I don’t think I have ever come across a butternut squash dish I didn’t like. This is definitely one of my favourites’, says Sabrina, who now makes her home in Yorkshire, ‘It makes a perfect side dish – but if I’m in the right mood, no one can stop me from devouring it on its own’.


Serves 4-6

2 x 1kg butternut squash (unpeeled)

olive oil

2 fat garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

generous knob of butter

2 tablespoons tahini

2 pinches of sumac

handful of pine nuts

Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly

ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan), Gas Mark 6.

Cut the butternut squashes in half lengthways and scoop out and discard the seeds. Drizzle each squash half with olive oil and rub the oil across the flesh. Place the squash on a baking tray and roast for 1 hour, or until the

flesh is soft and cooked through.

Remove the roasted squash halves from the oven and set them on a chopping board. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and place it in a

mixing bowl, discarding the skins. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and mash the squash until smooth, then add the butter and mix well.

Transfer the mashed squash to a saucepan and set the pan over a medium heat. Cook the squash for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the butternut mash to a large, wide serving platter and spread it out to the edges of the platter. Drizzle over the tahini, sprinkle over the

sumac and scatter over the pine nuts. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, then serve immediately.

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