This was a recipe tucked away in a little booklet within a Waitrose magazine. I tried it once, and I I would like to try it again with a few tweaks. I love all of the ingredients that go into this dish – the chestnuts, lentils, goats cheese, rosemary with the squash, with that fabulous varnish of maple syrup – it all sounds like an autumnal feast.
But there was something not quite right about this dish. I think it is the chestnuts. I don’t know why, but there was something not right about them. There was also an interesting conflict between the salty goats cheese and the maple syrup. It was just a little challenging for me. Robert told me he enjoyed it and has asked me to try it again…so I will, although as I mentioned, I think I am going to try to slightly tweak the ingredients to find a more pleasing balance of flavours.
200g Dried Lentils
1 Golden Butternut Squash (about 900g)
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, zest
120g mature hard goats’ cheese, grated
120g soft white breadcrumbs
½ x 180g pouch cooked chestnuts, chopped
½ tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp maple syrup
Wash the lentils thoroughly and then drain. Put the washed lentils into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil before reducing the heat, and then simmer for twenty minutes, until al dente.
Meanwhile, peel the butternut squash. Cut about 24 thin circles from the top end and set aside. Remove the seeds and coarsely grate the remaining squash (use a food processor with a grating attachment if you have one). Tip into a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190˚C, gas mark 5.
Drain the lentils and allow to cool for five minute. Then add the cooled lentils to the grated squash. Add most of the rosemary, along with the garlic, lemon zest, goats’ cheese, breadcrumbs and chestnuts. Season the mixture. Tip into a 32cm ovenproof dish, pressing it down with the back of a spoon into an even layer.
Arrange the squash slices on top, overlapping (as above). Mix the oil and maple syrup together in a bowl then brush over the squash. Scatter with the remaining rosemary and a little flaky sea salt before baking for a whole hour. When the topping is golden and crisp remove from the oven and allow to rest for ten minutes before serving with trimmings.