Wild mushroom and onion squash gratin

There is one thing that I simply can’t get enough of in autumn… wild mushrooms! This dish balances the earthiness fragrance of the mushrooms with the delicate sweetness of the squash (my other current fascination). Make use of the abundance of different types of squash and try something new- step away from the old faithful butternut! I have used onion squash here so give this a go!

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Ingredients- serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

1 banana shallot- finely sliced

2 onion squashes- peeled and cubed (no need to remove skin)

200g mixed wild mushrooms- cleaned and larger ones sliced

150ml vegetable stock

4tbsp creme fraiche

40g speck

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1. Start off by pre- heating the oven to 180c/ 160fan. Warm half the oil in a large non- stick frying pan over a medium heat on the hob and add the shallot, cubed squash and seasoning. Cover and cook for 15minutes until the squash is tender. This can also be roasted in the oven in a roasting tray with a drizzle of oil and some seasoning if you prefer.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan heat the remaing oil and fry the wild mushrooms until light golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove these from the pan and set aside before adding ribbons of speck to the pan to crisp up; again, when ready set aside.

3. When the squash is tender (you should be able to put the point of knife through the cubes easily), add the mushrooms and mix gently. Pop in the hot vegetable stock and cook until most of the stock has evaporated. At this point, stir in the creme fraiche. Next up goes the thyme which you need to remove from the stalk and sprinkle the leaves through the mixture. Last but not least add the crispy speck (if you haven’t already eaten it as you were cooking- always the risk!) and scatter over the top. You can also grate some postman over the top if you like.

4. Cover the pan and pop in the oven and cook for 45- 60 minutes. It can be served as a hearty main or as a side dish so take your pick! It would go well with a simple meat dish so you can taste each delicate flavour.

Wild mushroom and onion squash gratin- an autumnal gratin to rule them all!

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