Butternut Squash and Chickpea Rice Bake

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Rice Bake

Putting a dish together and baking it is comfort food at its best. The extra time for the flavours to muddle together whilst in oven bring depth and, in the case of this recipe, the opportunity for a crisp topping. What’s not to love? In this butternut squash and chickpea rice bake, the rice cooks by soaking up all of the liquid around it and as it does it also takes on the sweetness of roasted squash, the spice of chilli and the warmth of cumin. The Morocco-inspired flavours call out for tender chickpeas, a zing of orange and the flaked almond crust.

Butternut Squash & Chickpea Rice Bake

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Rice Bake Recipe

Serves 5–6

 

800g butternut squash

2tsp cumin seeds

olive oil

1 red chilli, finely chopped

3tsp ground coriander

2tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground cinnamon

¼tsp ground turmeric

½tsp ground cayenne pepper

1tsp ground black pepper

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

240g brown rice, rinsed

480g cooked chickpeas (or 2 x 400g tins, drained and rinsed)

handful fresh flat-leaf parsley

small bunch mint leaves

80g breadcrumbs

50g flaked almonds

 

1 Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Peel, de-seed and chop the butternut squash roughly into 2cm pieces. Toss the squash in 2tbsp olive oil and the cumin seeds in a 20cm x 28cm baking dish. Roast for 20–25 minutes until softened and starting to crisp up.

2 Meanwhile, heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan then add the chilli. Let it sizzle for 2 minutes on a medium heat to release the flavour then stir in the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Add the chopped tomatoes then use the empty tomato tin to add twice the amount of water from a previously boiled kettle. Stir in the chickpeas, rice and orange zest. Put the lid on and simmer for 5 minutes.

3 Pour the rice mixture into the baking dish of roasted squash and stir to combine. Cover the dish with a lid or some kitchen foil and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

4 Chop the parsley and mint and combine them with the breadcrumbs and flaked almonds in a small bowl. After 30 minutes the rice should be almost cooked and majority of the liquid will be absorbed. Stir the rice filling then top with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake without the lid/foil for a further 10 minutes, until the topping is golden and crisp.

 

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