Pork and squash is a traditional autumn pairing in British cuisine, but whole joints of pork can take a while to cook to perfection. This is an easy, comforting dish for a cool evening which can be ready in under an hour.
Don’t let your idea of squash comprise only those massive, dry and stringy Halloween pumpkins: these butternut squash are specifically for eating, and they’re in season, too, so they’ll be at their best. I realise this may be unconvincing, especially since their rock-hard uncooked flesh is such a trial to cut – I have only accomplished this with a sturdy knife and great patience, accompanied by choice swear-words.
But it’s worth it: cooked, butternut squash is rich and sweet, like chestnuts, and so tender that you can mash it with a fork, a perfect accompaniment to pork sausages. There’s not much washing-up afterwards either. What’s not to like?
- . 1 small butternut squash, roughly 600 – 750g, or ½ a large one.
- . A dab of oil
- . 25g butter, plus extra if liked
- . Salt and pepper
- . ½ teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
- . 4 – 6 pork sausages of your choice
- Preheat oven to 200ºC.
- Cut the top and bottom off the butternut squash, then slice it in half lengthways starting from the fat, rounded bottom.
- With a spoon, scrape out and discard the seeds and the stringy membranes.
- Slice the halves again into long quarters. Be very patient and use a sturdy knife.
- Grease the bottom of a large roasting pan with a drizzle of oil.
- Place the butternut squash quarters skin-side down in the pan and season well with the salt and pepper, then sprinkle with thyme.
- Flip each squash quarter so they have one cut face downwards. This helps them cook more evenly on each side.
- Cut the butter into quarters and tuck a bit of butter under each piece of squash, nestling them against the seed cavity.
- Roast the squash for 20 minutes.
- Remove the part-roasted squash and add the sausages to the roasting pan, tossing them in the melted butter and oil.
- Turn the squash so the other cut side is now facing downwards.
- Roast for another 20 minutes until the sausages and squash are cooked and lightly browned. The sausages should have no pink in the middle, and you should be able to easily pierce the squash with a fork.
- Plate up and serve right away.