Winter is my favourite time to be in the kitchen. There is something deeply pleasurable in cooking food that warms, comforts and satisfies a winter appetite. A new crop of rich, earthy and more robust vegetables comes with the colder months and a slower style of cooking becomes appropriate.
For me, this savoury crumble captures the essence of winter eating and cooking. It’s a dish that can be served confidently at a dinner party or happily eat from a bowl on the sofa for Sunday supper. The mushrooms are the star of the show and give it a rich umami base, the onions and squash add a touch of sweetness. The oaty crumble brings a bit of bite to the dish and balance the flavours beautifully. Don’t be tempted to up the squash quantity just a little is needed here and 150g brings just the right amount of sweetness.
3tbsp ground almonds
6 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and roughly chopped
60g butter cut into 2cm cubes
4tbsp cold pressed rapeseed or olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
150g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
2 cups vegetable stock
150g kale, stem removed & torn into bite sized pieces
100g crème fraiche
Juice of ½ lemon
400g mixed mushrooms (I like chestnut, shitake, chanterelles & portobello)
Handful of sage leaves, shredded
100ml white wine (optional)
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°F/gas 4
Prepare the crumble first, in a large bowl mix together the oats, buckwheat and ground almonds. Add the thyme and cubed butter and using your hands massage together until large crumbs are formed.
Heat 1tbsp of oil in a medium sized casserole dish (ours is 20cm round and 7cm deep) and sweat the onions over a low heat for 10minutes or until translucent and fragrant. Add half of the crushed garlic and the butternut squash and cook for 2 minutes, pour in the stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale for the last couple of minutes of cooking time and then stir in the crème fraiche, lemon juice and season with a pinch of salt and generous grind of fresh black pepper.
Meanwhile, slice the larger mushrooms into chunky pieces, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and sear in batches over a medium to high heat adding another tablespoon of oil with each batch that you do. You want the mushrooms to caramelise and become beautifully golden so make sure not to overcrowd the pan and only turn them once.
When you have done your last batch add the remaining garlic and sage and return all of the mushrooms to the pan along with a knob of butter, season well and toss a couple of times, pour in the wine and let it reduce by half. Transfer to your casserole dish and gently stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
Evenly top with the crumble mixture and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and delicious. Serve with a simple green salad or steamed winter greens.
Recipe and photos by Sophie Mackinnon from Amaranth Journal