Squashy bottom soup bowls with leeks & crouton dippers recipe image

Print Squashy bottom soup bowls with leeks & crouton dippers

A big creamy cuddle of a dish, this is nature’s soup bowl. The croutons are perfect for dipping as they soak up all the creamy filling, as well as add a nice crunchy texture to an otherwise soft and yielding dinner. This dish works well with any good melting cheese. Kale, chard or spinach could be added in place of the leeks.

Ingredients

  • 2 leeks
  • Light olive oil
  • 2 small squash
  • 50g Cheddar, grated
  • 50g Italian-style cheese, grated
  • 200ml double cream
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 nutmeg
  • 15g thyme
  • 2 bread rolls
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Trim away the root end and dark leafy tops of the leeks. Cut them in half lengthways, then slice into half cm pieces. Wash well in a colander or sieve to remove any grit. Heat a little oil in the saucepan.
  2. Add the leeks and gently cook until they begin to soften but not colour, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and scrub the squashes clean. Cut a slender sliver from the bottom of the squash, just enough that they sit upright but not so much that you cut into the centre.
  3. Now carefully cut away the top 2 inches (5cm) to create a lid. Use a large spoon to scoop out all the soft fibrous seeds and pulp from the centre of the squash, as if hollowing out a pumpkin for carving. Preheat oven to 200˚C/Gas Mark 6.
  4. Divide the cheeses equally between the 2 squash, followed by the leeks, cream and mustard. Add a wee grating of nutmeg and a small sprig of thyme to each. Season with generous turns of black pepper and a cautious amount of salt, keeping in mind the saltiness of the cheese.
  5. Give everything a rough mix with a spoon. Pop the lid on and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the squash flesh is tender. While the squash bakes prepare your croutons. Cut each roll in half, then each half into 4 fat fingers.
  6. Spread them on a shallow baking tray and drizzle over 3 tablespoons of oil. Turn and roll them in the oil to coat. Season with a few pinches of salt. Spread them out evenly on a tray and bake them on the spare shelf in the oven for about 12 minutes, turning once midway through, until lightly golden and toasted.
  7. Remove to cool. Eat by dipping the toasted croutons and scraping the soft flesh into the creamy centre.

Cooks notes

As a word of caution: never try to roast a whole uncut squash in an oven as they are rumoured to explode. Testing this theory is on my to-do list.
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