Winter squash are a staple of our diet as the nights draw in and the temperatures drop. These hard skinned fruits, which rampage voluptuously through the vegetable patch all summer, store well and we include them in all manner of squash recipes. They make excellent soups and stews, they are delicious roasted with sage and chilli or sugar and cinnamon, you can stuff pasta with them or even bake them in a cake. But these little munchkin pumpkins were crying out to be centre stage, no walk on part for them, they needed roasting and stuffing with something very special so they could show off their deliciousness! So, without further ado, let me present to you Stuffed Munchkin Pumpkins with Stilton and Walnut Pâté – perfect for autumn and winter nights!
These stuffed munchkin pumpkins are filled with a savour páté combining three traditionally festive flavours, creamy Stilton cheese, walnuts and rich, sweet Port. Stilton and Walnut Pàtê with Port is a vegetarian pàtê which packs a real punch. It is a stand alone dish which I make every year in quantity. I pack some of it into small ramekins as prettily packaged gifts, some helps to make Christmas hampers for family and friends and I keep the rest for us! It appears on our festive menu atop crackers, alongside hearty pickles, chutneys and fruit or in a sandwich for supper; it freezes well so I make a big batch at the beginning of December to last us through to the New Year!
You can, of course, make this recipe with other small squash, one gigantic one to share or you can halve a butternut squash and stuff that.
Stuffed Munchkin Pumpkins with Stilton and Walnut Páté
- 2 Pretty Munchkin Pumpkins
- 1 small red onion about 50g peeled and diced
- ½ a green pepper about 50g deseeded and diced
- 2 mini portobello mushrooms about 50g diced (you can use other mushrooms but I love the depth of flavour from portobello mushrooms)
- 3 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
- 50 g walnuts toasted lightly in a dry pan and ground. You want some texture so don’t grind too finely, leave some chunky bits!
- 4 tbsps Port
- 50 g cream cheese
- 75 g Stilton cheese
- dried chilli flakes to taste
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme finely chopped
- 30 g breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly oil a roasting pan
- Slice the pumpkins in half horizontally and remove all the seeds and stringy bits, place in the roasting pan and into he oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until just beginning to soften and brown
- Heat a tablespoonful or so of olive oil in a deep frying pan, add the onion, green pepper and mushrooms and fry until the onions and mushrooms have softened but not browned
- Add the garlic and chilli and cook for one minute without burning the garlic
- Stir in the walnuts, and cook for another minute
- Add the port and sizzle until it is reduced by half
- Stir in the breadcrumbs, paprika and thyme and cook for another minute, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little
- Meanwhile beat the Stilton and cream cheese together using a handwhisk or blender (I use the small bowl on my magi mix which makes quick work of it)
- Fold into the walnut mixture thoroughly, add salt and pepper to taste
- Put half of the mixture back into the blender and blend until smooth-ish
- Add to the unwhizzed bit and stir together thoroughly
- Fill the squash with generous spoonfuls of the pàtê and return to the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the pumpkins are well browned and the pàte is hot right through
- Serve with roast potatoes and a crisp rocket salad.
If you have pâté left over spoon it into a small pot, cover and chill – it will make lovely sandwiches tomorrow!