Jerk Roasted Squash with Fruit and Nut Rice Pilaf

21 Sep

I made some of this Jerk marinade/sauce to use up some of the hundreds of scotch bonnet chilli peppers I have at the moment. The plant/bush has actually flowered again and is now producing even more.

I also made another batch of my Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce …..

The first thing I made with the jerk marinade was Jerk Baked Feta. I don’t have any pictures of it because I made it at night and we ate it all, sorry (not sorry really), but I will definitely do it again, it tasted amazing.

All you do is put the 200 gr block of Feta onto a large rectangle of foil, spoon over 3 or 4 tbsp of the jerk marinade and coat it well. Wrap up the feta in a foil packet and bake it for 10-15 minutes at 180 C. Unwrap your fragrant cheesy parcel and dive in with some  good pita or roti bread.

A customer at the restaurant, Norman, gave us a bag full of these beautiful squash. In my new guise as “Jerk Addict” I knew I was going to give it the jerk treatment. The sweet butteryness of the squash is enhanced by the spicy, zingy jerk marinade, they are made for each other, seriously.

I served this with a Fruit & Nut Rice Pilaf I found in my new Caribbean cookbook. Spice It Up by Levi Roots and drizzled it with some of my Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce mixed with some Greek yoghurt to tone it down slightly.

Jerk Roasted Squash with Fruit & Nut Rice Pilaf

serves 3, vegan, gluten-free

For the jerk roasted squash:

  • 1 bunch/handful fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, then crushed
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns, then crushed
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tsp allspice berries, then crushed
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6 scotch bonnet chillies (mine are small) use 4 large deseeded
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 limes, zest of 1, juice of 2
  • 140 ml olive oil
  • 1 medium squash

Put all the ingredients for the jerk marinade (not the squash) in a processor and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a sterilised jar and seal. Refrigerate until needed. This makes about 200 ml.

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Wash the squash and slice off  a little of the top and bottom. Leave the skin on. Slice the narrow end into 1-2cm discs (see picture above). Then cut the fatter end in half lengthways, scrape out the seeds and slice each half into 1-2 cm half moons.

Line 2 baking sheets with foil and place the squash circles on one tray and the half moons on the other. Drop about a teaspoon of the jerk marinade onto each disc and swirl it around to coat the top. Turn the disc over and do the same on the other side. Do the same with the half moons. Drizzle both sets of squash with a little olive oil and put both trays in the oven. The discs on the top shelf and the half moons on the middle shelf.

Cook for 30 -40 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices. The half moons will be ready before the discs. You want them to be really soft when you test them with a knife.

Serve hot or at room temperature with the Fruit & Nut Rice Pilaf.

For the Fruit & Nut Rice Pilaf:

Serves 3, vegan, gluten free. Adapted from Spice it Up by Levi Roots

  • 150 gr long grain rice, I used a wild rice mix
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 50 gr sultanas (or dried tropical fruit mix)
  • 25 gr almonds, roughly chopped
  • 350 ml veg stock
  • the juice of 1/2 lime or orange
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & black pepper

Rinse the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear and leave to drain. Heat the olive oil in a large pan with a lid over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened then add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes.

Next add the rice to the pan, stir to coat in the oil and spices then add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Season well with salt & black pepper and boil hard for a minute. Then reduce the heat to very low and cover with a lid. Leave to cook for about 15 minutes until tender, try not to stir but make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Check seasoning and serve immediately garnished with some fresh thyme.

Serve the dish drizzled with some Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce if you like it fiery. Or mix it with some greek yoghurt for a more manageable heat.

This jerk marinade is amazing. You can use it for chicken, fish or pork but try the foil baked feta and squash too. You may surprise even the most stubborn carnivores with this recipe.

I also used it as a salad dressing with some more olive oil and lime juice. I used some of the leftover roasted squash, chopped up with some chickpeas and mixed it into a salad with the jerk dressing and a splash of hot pepper sauce. Really good lunch dish..

Things That Made Me Smile Today……..

 The Eucalyptus trees are starting to shed their bark, covering the ground with cinnamon- like curls….

It reminds me of a programme I saw about the cinnamon producers in Sri Lanka. Strips of  bark from the cinnamon tree are layered together, one curl inside another and then it is expertly rolled into the cinnamon sticks we buy and use for cooking. Amazing to watch….

It is one of the few signs of autumn we get here, and the first nod towards the changing season…..

Hello Autumn!


15 Responses to “Jerk Roasted Squash with Fruit and Nut Rice Pilaf”

  1. Savorique September 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Great recipe! I’d like to think I can slowly fry the butternut squash slices on a pan if I don’t use an oven. Can I?

    • foodblogandthedog September 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      Definitely, I’d slice them thinner though to cook evenly and use a lid on the pan.

  2. chicaandaluza September 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    I rarely buy and cook squash and I´m not sure why as it´s so good! Love the different ways you´re using your jerk sauce – a fellow heat lover! And the eucalyptus photos are gorgeous – is this your new camera you´re using?

    • foodblogandthedog September 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

      My food photos are with the new camera but the “location” pictures are with the trusty point & shoot, I’m too lazy to carry the thing about with me!! You have to try the jerk it’s so addictive!!

  3. Jill Colonna September 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Wow – this sounds absolutely dynamite and certainly something that’s so tasty you’d want to put it on everything. Beautiful shots – and that feta dish also sounded superb. All such tasty and healthy dishes to top it off, too!

  4. Liz September 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Beautiful and delicious dishes!!! Love the look of that squash 🙂 And thanks for sharing the eucalyptus tree photos…lovely~

  5. kellie @ foodtoglow September 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    Sounds like a bit of work, but very worth doing. Beautiful taste combinations – sweet, hot, sour, spicy. My idea of heaven. And good for you food, to boot. Great post. 😀

  6. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide September 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Jerk-baked feta sounds amazing. Love all the pictures and the squash towers are just perfect. Oh and to have enough peppers to make that sauce.

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook September 22, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    I love both recipes. The roasted squash is amazing! The squash sucked up all the nice flavors… waiting for me to bite…. and pilaf is always my favorite (I love rice!) and it’s my first pilaf that has fruits and nuts. Sounds and looks so good! Sorry I missed your posts earlier – I saw your comment on another blog and I just came right in. Going to take a look at other posts I missed now..

  8. Juanita September 22, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Your photos are dynamite! I love rice pilafs and roasted butternut squash. They make such good friends taste wise!

  9. Giulia Scarpaleggia (@JulsKitchen) September 22, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    I really love your blog! so happy you stopped by to leave a comment on my blog, so I discovered yours! this squash is so tempting! Hello Autumn!

  10. luvnspoonfuls September 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    All of it looks so amazing and tasty, and what a great presentation. Can’t wait to try the marinade as I do LOVE it spicy!

  11. sonsothunder September 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Oh, those dishes look delicious. Like, chicaandaluza, I also am a meat lover…I meant…Heat!!!

    I really should be attempting the Jerked squash, before all the local stuff is completely gone for the year. Although most of the Immediate local squash is finished, there is still some around from late crops, and green-houses.
    I usually only add one ingredient to my fruit and nut pilaf to make it a little more palatable for me. MEAT!!!…Sorry, have to be honest…but, I do love your site and post. I also LOVE vegetables, and to be honest, if I had the place, and time to grow them like the old folks did, I COULD live off of them, with no complaints.

    God Bless You

  12. Suzi September 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    What a beautiful blog you have and your photos are fabulous. Can’t wait to try the jerk marinade and your scotch bonnet pepper sauce. This would work with tofu also. Very nice. I love finding new veggie blogs. Thanks!!

  13. Caroline September 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    This sounds delicious. I have an extremely low spice tolerance, but I’d suffer through the pain for this, ha! Great photos, as always Natalie. Hope you’re having a great day. 🙂

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