Thursday, January 1, 2009

Butternut Squash and Leek Gratins

These individual gratins ought to warm you up on a cold night! There's quite a lot of oven time involved, so don't make this on an evening when you're pressed for time.

Cut a one-pound butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place, cut-sides down, an a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until tender. (Note: since it can be hard to find a butternut squash that small, buy a two-pounder and use half of it in this recipe; save the other half for a side dish tomorrow night!)

Let the squash cool for 30 minutes before scooping out the pulp and mashing with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Otherwise you'll burn your hands!

While the squash cools, slice 2 cups of thinly sliced leek (about 2 leeks). Rinse the slices in a sieve to make sure the dirt gets washed from all the layers.

Melt 1/2 a teaspoon of vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a medium skillet over medium heat. For some reason, my cooking time with leeks is never as long as recipes suggest. The directions said to add the leek to the skillet, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring once, then to uncover and cook an additional 10 minutes until golden brown. However, my leeks were perfectly browned after the first 20 minutes, so use your discretion on this step and don't let them burn. Once browned, let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine a teaspoon and a half of raw sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, a dash of nutmeg, and the equivalent of two eggs using egg replacer (such as Ener-G). Mix with a whisk. Add the cooled leek and cooled squash pulp.

Divide the mixture evenly among 3 individual ramekins. Place the ramekins in an 8x8-inch baking dish, and fill with hot water to a depth of one inch (water from a tea kettle works best). Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes - a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from the oven and transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet.

The original recipe said to sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons of grated Parmesan. I used the vegan Parmesan sprinkles from Galaxy Foods, but because the flavor is very strong, I decreased the amount to 1 teaspoon. You could also grate the vegan mozzarella block from Galaxy Foods for a more subtle flavor.

Either way, return the baking sheet to the oven and broil for 2 minutes.

Each gratin is 190 calories.

Happy 2009 everyone! Because I love to plan in advance, I've been getting ideas for recipes for all months and seasons for the year ahead, and I hope to continue cooking up a vegan storm.

butternut squash $4.92
leek $2.27

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance