Likely you have seen those cute roasted Hasselback potatoes before, but you can also use this technique on a butternut squash!
By cutting them halfway through before roasting, these spuds will get thin fan-like slices, and you add loads of flavors in with toppings. You see these roasties popping up in all the recipes during the festive seasons, because they look, eh…, festive, but they are also dead easy to make.
You wouldn’t expect that they originate already from the 1950s. Leif Ellison, a trainee chef from the Hasselbacken restaurant in the Djurgården quarter of Stockholm, Sweden, came up with this idea, and thus the Hasselbackspotatis was born. Coincidentally, when I had a trip to Stockholm for work a couple of years ago, I stayed in the Pop House Hotel, which I had booked online as it was close-by where I had to be for work, but even closer by the Oaxen Krog** restaurant. 😇 I had no idea that the Pop House Hotel was actually part of the ABBA Museum (or vice versa), and across the street, you will find the stately Hasselbacken Hotel and Restaurant. (And yes, I totally regret not having bought those silver or gold Swedish clogs for Chantal…)
By cutting the butternut squash like the Hasselback potatoes, you get the same fanned structure and secure even doneness in bitesize slices. This North-African version – with harissa infused cherry tomato sauce and topped with a drizzle of honey, smoked paprika dill, and feta – is a real treat.
I saw the recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in the Easter 2020 edition of Olive Magazine. I couldn’t find any online recipe, so here is my version (a bit more harissa, garlic, and smoked paprika than the original). I served the butternut squashes with some Maftoul, hand-rolled giant couscous that you first toast before cooking, to soak up the delicious tomato sauce.
The recipe (serves 4-6)
- 2 butternut squashes, peeled, halved lengthways and seeds scooped out
- 5 cloves of garlic, sliced.
- 3 x 400g / 14oz tins of cherry tomatoes
- 3 tbsp harissa (click here for my no-cook harissa recipe)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, cut into thick slices of about 1¼cm / ½”
- 8 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 200g / 7oz feta, crumbled
- small bunch of dill, chopped
- 1 lemon, zested
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 355ºF.
- Put a squash half flat-side down on a chopping board between 2 wooden spoon handles. Cut down in ½ cm / ¼” intervals until the knife hits the spoons. Repeat with all squash halves.
- Put the cherry tomatoes, harissa, garlic, and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large baking dish and stir to combine. Then push the onion slices down into the tomato sauce.
- Place the squash halves into the dish on top of the onions. Slot the bay leaves into the gaps. Drizzle with the remaining tbsp of olive oil and season well.
- Cover the dish with tin foil and cook for 30 minutes in the oven.
- Remove the foil and drizzle over the runny honey and sprinkle with the smoked paprika and roast the dish for another 35-40 minutes or until the squash is fully tender.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle over the chopped dill, lemon zest, and crumbled feta.
- and serve!