Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Brussel Sprout and Camembert Gratin in Butternut Squash

title
I was rushing to leave the market last weekend, lugging an impossibly heavy load on my shoulders, sweat dripping down my back. The sun was blazing and I had a lot to drag home in preparation for Sunday lunch with my mom, her mom, and her mom’s sister (doesn’t that sound like a fabulous movie title?). It was in this frazzled state that I saw it. A squash unlike the regular local squash I am used to seeing at the market. A squash whose vase-like shape and pale color looked tantalizingly familiar. Could it be? Here in my tropical isle that has never seen an autumn much less a winter?

Despite having both arms full and feeling like you could fry an egg on my back, my feet had a will of its own and led me to the cardboard box holding the squash. I pointed and asked the purveyor what it was. “Butternut squash.” Now, let’s not get too excited. These were dwarves compared to the ones I’ve seen in pictures (yes, I have only seen butternut squash in pictures). I was a bit suspicious. “For eating?”, I asked, wanting to make sure these weren’t just bigger versions of the mini-squashes that seem to be quite en vogue as a tabletop decoration. “Yes”, was the reply. They apparently came from Baguio, our mountain province where a lot of our veggies, especially those needing cooler climes, come from. One second of deliberation, some picking and inspection, and I walked away with two small specimens.

Back home I went straight to my April/May 2007 issue of Donna Hay that featured a full spread on pumpkins. I already knew I would be making pumpkin soup with one of them, now I needed an idea for the other. As always, Donna did not disappoint me. Since the squash was small I figured they would do nicely stuffed, and Donna had just the recipe: Silver Beet and Gruyere Gratin. Unfortunately, I did not have silver beet (Swiss chard), nor did I have gruyere, and the pumpkin she used was golden nugget.

Technicalities. I did have some brussel sprouts (I love you brussel sprouts!) and the size of the butternut squash would be perfect. I prepared the sprouts like Molly’s cream braised ones (incredible recipe!), I just didn’t braise them (to allow for the added cooking time in the oven), and used that to stuff the squash. Although I didn’t have gruyere, I did have some wonderful camembert de Normandie (Bernieres Jort -- where they are still made with raw milk scooped by hand held ladles – au lait cru muolé à la louche), straight from France, a gift from my best friend K’s husband. I got to work.

Brussel Sprout and Camembert Gratin in Butternut Squash
(Inspiration taken from Donna and Molly)

  • 1 small butternut squash (approximately 550 grams)
  • 210 grams brussel sprouts
  • 30 grams butter
  • 100 ml cream
  • About 4 slim slices camembert cheese
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Fresh marjoram (for garnish)

- Melt butter in a saucepan, and then toss in brussel sprouts. Gently fry until sprouts have browned in spots.
- Add cream to the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grate some nutmeg on top, stir, and cover for a couple of minutes. Once sprouts have softened a bit, remove from heat and set aside.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds and stringy parts.
- Place squash halves on a baking sheet. Fill the squash hollows with brussel sprout mixture, grate a little more nutmeg on top, and top with 1 slice camembert each. Wrap each squash in foil and place baking sheet in a 190C oven. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until squash is soft.
- Once squash is soft, remove foil. The cheese would have melted into the sprouts at this point. Turn on the broiler. Place another slice of camembert on each squash half and place under the broiler until brown and bubbly.
- Garnish with marjoram leaves. Serves two.

When I was done eating, all that was left was a thin piece of pumpkin skin. The squash was sweet and not as wet as our local varieties. I am beyond happy I spotted them. Although I can’t be sure how this would compare to butternut squash in the Western Hemisphere, for now this is as good as I get. You can be sure I will be hounding that market stall for weekends to come.

back to school This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, a fantastic event created by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. This round is hosted by Chris of Mele Cotte.

Happy 4th of July to those of you that celebrate it! Over here we celebrate C’s birthday on July 4! :) Happy Birthday C!!!

44 comments:

The TriniGourmet said...

GORGEOUS! :)

Chris said...

Wow! Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts? Delicious. I am all over this one. Sounds fabulous! Thanks for adding this to WHB this week.

Kalyn said...

I agree it sounds fabulous. I do just love butternut squash. When I first started teaching school I used to go to my grandmother Denny's for dinner a lot (she lived right by where I worked.) She would always make this, simply baked in the oven in the skin, then scraped out and served with lots of butter, salt, and pepper. Just divine. (Of course your kicked up version sounds even better!)

Pille said...

Although we've got both autumn and winter, you cannot buy butternut squash here. That's why I've planted some in my garden and hope to harvest them in a few months:)
Lovely gratin!!

katrina said...

The words "squash" and "gratin" are made for each other! If I saw this dish in a menu, there'd be no hesitation at all. I have to say, though -- it looks better than many dishes I've had in restaurants!

By the way, where do you buy brussel sprouts? I've yet to try it.

Happy Birthday, C!!!

Midge said...

That squash is just absolutely beautiful, Joey. Where did you find Brussels sprouts? I checked my local Santis and at Makati Super and they were all fresh out. :(

Happy birthday to your better half, BTW. He might be pleased to know he shares a birthday with one of Japan's hottest rock stars. :D

ChichaJo said...

Thanks so much Trinigourmet! :)

Hi Chris! Thank you :) Thanks for hosting!

Hi Kalyn! You lucky to have those years of butternut squash...hopefully this supply will remain constant albeit dwarfish :)

Hi Pille! Good luck on your harvest! This is the first time I've come across it here...I hope this farmer continues to plant them :)

Hi Katrina! Thanks! :) I love squash too, and as a gratin most definitely :) I will pass on your birthday greetings to C. The brussel sprouts I get at Santi's, but as Midge mentioned below, they are not always available, so I grab them when I see them. I think their veg deliveries are on Thursday afternoons :)

Thank you Midge! :) I got them at Santi's (Rockwell)...I grab them whenever I see some because the don't always have them...maybe next week! Which rock star??? I will definitely tell him that! :)

MeltingWok said...

Oh my god, Joey, I haven't had butternut squash in a while. I've to get to the market to get them, your recipe sounds really tempting, thanks !:) By the way, your mom, her mom ...sounds like a Joy Luck Club, hehe cheers !:)

christine said...

One of my favorite veggies! I love butternut squash almost as much as sweet potatoes. BTW, I've been able to find butternut squash and brussel sprouts at Metro grocery. I bought brussel sprouts there thrice already, though they don't always have it. Otherwise, you can try the market outside. :)

Happy "37th" Birthday again, C (heehee)! And Happy 4th to the Americans who read this.

Paz said...

Delicious-looking meal! I think it was worth stopping to by the ingredients, despite your arms being full with other items. ;-)

Happy Birthday C!

Best,
Paz

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, that looks extremely beautiful and tasty! A great combination of flavors!

Socky said...

What I am soooo curious about is that Camembert you mentioned. "...raw milk scooped by handheld ladles". I heard they hardly do cheese that way anymore. I wonder how different that is, in terms of taste and texture, from the camembert de normandie that we usually get here. Couldn't help thinking about this post when I saw a camembert de normandie at the cheese club earlier this evening.

Patricia Scarpin said...

This is delicious, Joey - vegetables AND cheese? Where do I sign? :)

M said...

This looks wonderful Joey. I'm gonna have to wait till autumn to try it though. I'm also wondering about that pumpkin soup you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

What a delectable creation. I've been on a squash kick lately and this is perfect. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Toni said...

Ooh la la Joey! That looks delicious! I'm not big on squash but this one looks too good to resist.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Meltingwok! Joy Luck Club...yes! I like that :) I guess we could be in a way, heehee :)

Hi Nens! Thanks for all the butternut squash finding tips! :) Will check them out! I'll pass the message on to C :)

Hi Paz! Thanks! I agree...definitely worth the stop :) Thanks from C :)

Thanks so much Rosa! :)

Hey Socky! Check out the link in this post for details on the camembert and what makes it different :) But here's an excerpt: At Jort camemberts are made from raw milk, scooped by hand-held ladles (moule a la louche) into plastic moulds. The bacteria that turn the milk into cheese are the indigenous bacteria of the milk and the site (which explains why the raw-milk cheeses have a fuller, deeper, more individual, more lingering and more exquisite taste). Look for "au lait cru muolé à la louche" on the label :)

Hi Patricia! Thanks :) Veg and cheese make a winner for me too :)

Hi M! I'm sure you will get much bigger butternut squash over there :) The soup is still in the works...I'm looking over recipes and deciding how to make it :)

Hi Ari! Thanks! :) Hope you like it if you do try it out!

Hi Toni! Thank you :) The butternut squash is sweeter and not as wet as our regular squash, and the sprouts and cheese gives this more dimension in terms of taste...let me know if you give it a go :)

littleoldme said...

What market in Manila has butternut squash!?

ChichaJo said...

Hi Littleoldme! I found them at Salcedo market :) My good friend has told me that she has found them as well in Metro supermarket at Market! Market! and in Cash & Carry :)

Belinda said...

What a beautiful presentation...not to mention, a delicious sounding recipe! I love reading your blog, and I'm still having lots of fun reading through the archived posts. :-)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Joey isn't it wonderful how only from pictures you recognize this and then can turn out such an incredible dish as this!
That is really incredible looking. Love the thyme too. And your substitutions were perfect.

Franco said...

A Butternut Squash in Manila?! That's like finding bagoong in Montana!

I've been wanting to make a soup out of that for a long time...

Lovely Photo, Joey.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Belinda! Thanks! :) I'm so glad you are enjoying it :)

Hi Tanna! Thank you :) Yes, I get really excited when I meet new veggies, fruits, seafood, or meat for the first time :)

Thanks Franco! Yes!!! And apparently, they are not as hard to find as I thought! A friend of mine has seen them in Metro at Merket!Market! and Cash and Carry as well I think :) Hooray! Keep you eyes peeled!

Lori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
valentinA said...

this is aesthetically pleasing to look at Joey. woohoo!!

Stephen said...

Brussel sprouts with Camebert! Two of my favorite things ever. I definitely have to try it. Thanks!

Kelly-Jane said...

I like all three main ingredients, and it sounds and looks good!

So many people hate sprouts, but they are a lovely little veg think!

Kelly-Jane said...

That should have been 'I think' at the end!

Mae said...

Gorgeous photo, Joey! Roasted butternut squash is Ian's fave. He always sneaks one in our shopping trolley whenever we go shopping for a Sunday roasts.

This looks delish. :)

Rasa Malaysia said...

What a brilliant creation...so sophisticated! I could never dream of cooking anything like this!!!

Ivonne said...

I cannot wait for the fall so that I can try this! MAGNIFICENT!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks a lot Valentina! :)

Hi Stephen! Brussel Sprouts is one of my favorite things too...I love them! :)

Hi Kelly-jane! I agree!!! I am stumped as to how brussel sprouts got their "bad rep"...they are so yummy and cute too :)

Hi Mae! Thanks! :) I am going to try more ways with this type of squash...roasted with some butter is high on the list!

Hi Rasa Malaysia! Thanks for such a nice comment! I take it as a big compliment knowing the gorgeous dishes you whip up :)

Thanks Ivonne!!! Everything you make is magnificent so thanks for the high praise :) Now...if only we had fall here...

Anonymous said...

Yummy...butternut squash... I didn't see anyone else mention this, but they will last forever, so you can stock up whenever the store has them. I've had squash that have sat on my counter for over 3 months before being made into my beloved (and incredibly simple) butternut squash soup. Just peel, chop and boil in chicken stock until tender, add some spicy peppers, salt, pepper, then puree (gotta love that immersion blender too). Add a bit of cream, milk or whatever's handy and some sage. I dare you not to eat it all in one sitting!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anon! Thanks for the tip! I have heard they do last long...another reason to love them :) And, while waiting to be consumed, they look great on my coffeetable! :) Thanks for sharing your recipe...will make soup soon!

katiez said...

I planted butternut squash in my garden this year. I've never had one either but I saw the seeds and decided to try - besides, they are a lot smaller than pumpkin, which I also plant.
Can't wait until they grow up enough to try this! Wonderdul recipe. I love Brussels spouts...

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katiez! Glad to meet another brussel sprout lover :) And your garden sounds fantastic!

SteamyKitchen said...

OMG...you are killing me softly with camembert....

ChichaJo said...

Hahaha! Hi Jaden...I laughed out loud when I read that! :) Killing me softly with camembert...yes, I know the feeling ;)

Anonymous said...

Brussels sprouts. With an 's'. After the city! You've misspelled it every single time, argh! Lovely recipe though

ChichaJo said...

Oops! Thanks for pointing that out Anon...spelling was never my strong point :)

Tartelette said...

This sounds fantastic...and decadent and healthy all at once. How you do that?!!!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Helen! I guess since I like both decadent and healthy food, it manifests itself in these combinations :)

Divina Pe, RHN said...

I just love butternut squash. I didn't know that they're available here, even brussel sprouts. I wonder where I can buy them.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Divine! I chanced upon this butternut squash at the salcedo market before but they don't regularly have them. Some other bloggers have found it more recently at the Dizon Farms stall at SM Makati. Brussels sprouts are available in Santis :) Hope this helps!