A rich, comforting dish that’s perfect for autumn evenings.
Butternut squash, stilton and kale gratin
- Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus infusing
- Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
1 medium butternut squash (about 1.2kg), flesh cut into 2.5cm chunks
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
700ml whole milk
1 bay leaf
pinch black peppercorns
1 small onion, halved
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
75g unsalted butter
60g plain flour
240g pack Colston Bassett stilton, crumbled
500g shredded kale leaves, large stalks discarded
1. Heat the oven to 220 ̊C, gas mark 7. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil and season. Arrange in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway, until soft and caramelised in places; set aside. Meanwhile, bring the milk to the boil with the bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns, onion and celery. Take off the heat and set aside for a few minutes to infuse.
2. Turn down the oven to 180 ̊C, gas mark 4. Make a bechamel sauce by cooking the butter and flour in a small pan over a low heat for 2-3 minutes. Strain the infused milk and add, in 4 or 5 batches, whisking to incorporate each time. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, whisking regularly, until thickened. Add 1⁄2 the stilton, season and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, blanch the kale, in batches, in a pan of boiling salted water for 30 seconds or so, until wilted. Refresh immediately in cold water and lightly squeeze dry.
4. Toss the squash, bechamel and kale together in a large bowl, then arrange in a large ovenproof dish (about 2 litres in volume). Sprinkle with the remaining stilton and bake for 25-30 minutes (ideal for the second cooking of the pork belly), until golden brown. Leave to cool a little before serving.