Christmas Butternut Squash Pate

It’s a little bit early to be planning Christmas recipes, but this one would be great for a dip at Christmas parties or on some crostinis for a canape with a little soft cheese.  I love the combination of flavours here, it really evokes Christmas without having to use the typical turkey, cranberry and chipolata combinations.  I love the creaminess that the toasted walnuts give this pate too.  The squeeze of lemon at the end of the recipe is integral to balancing the sweetness of the squash and caramelised onions, so make sure not to skip this step!

Shopping List

450g peeled and chopped butternut squash

50g walnuts

2 small or 1 large white onion

fresh rosemary

fresh thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

a knob of unsalted butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

salt and pepper

1 lemon

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Put the squash, a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes.

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While the squash is roasting, toast the walnuts in a frying pan on a high heat until they smell toasty and are nicely browned.  Add the walnuts to a processor or blender and blitz until they make a grainy paste.

Using the same pan, add finely sliced onions, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a knob of butter and the brown sugar.  Heat on a low heat, this will take some time, until the onions are soft, brown and caramelised.  It’s worth taking the time to cook the onions on a low heat for longer- the flavour will pay off!  Add to the processor and blitz until combined with the walnuts.

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Once the squash is soft, remove the rosemary and woody parts of the thyme and add the squash to the processor.  Whizz until the mixture makes a thick, smooth paste.  Decant into a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and a generous squeeze of lemon.

Serve with fresh thyme leaves as a garnish on crostini, with toasts or crisp breads!

I wrote this recipe in collaboration with Wren Kitchens for their Festive recipe countdown, you can find my recipe and loads of other great ‘twist on Christmas’ recipes here: http://www.wrenkitchens.com/wrens-christmas-kitchen .

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