What do you do when you have a huge butternut squash around 8 kilos? One of the recipes I made was this Savoury Cornmeal Crumble with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta is healthy and delicious!
My neighbour in Assini gave me two huge butternut squashes from her garden the evening before leaving Nafplio. One of it was not ripe yet, so I left it there hoping that by the time I get back it will be ready to use. The other one, I brought it along with me to Athens.
I cut half of it, removed the seeds and put it in a baking tin with about 1 cup of water and wrapped it well with aluminium foil. I then cooked it to 200o C / 400o F, for about two hours. (See how to roast a pumpkin here). I used part of the puree to make Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Muffins with Chocolate Carob Syrup Buttercream Frosting and the remaining leftover puree was deep freezed.
My children wanted Kolokotes, so I made the remaining 1/4 of the butternut squash into Kolokotes, which is a traditional Cypriot recipe of butternut squash turnovers. Some of these Kolokotes were baked and the remaining went directly into the deep freezer to be baked when my son comes back from abroad.
With the remaining 1/4 of the butternut squash I decided to experiment. When I was making this recipe I had in mind a previous recipe I had posted called badjina, which is made using cornmeal but wanted to make something new.
When I google searched “What does butternut squash go with?” I read that orange and green vegetables together provide both a nutritionally powerful meal and a winning flavor combination, with the squash’s sweetness balancing the earthy greens, so I decided to add spinach as well. I did not like the herb combination of sage and rosemary, suggested because I did not have these fresh herbs and did not want to use dried ones. Instead, I opted for fennel fronds which I have tried and tested in the past and love it with butternut squash. I also added a hint of cumin as suggested but only add it if you really like this spice. For me it was a wonderful addition but some members of my family were not enthusiastic with it.
When I posted the picture on my crumble on Facebook some of my friends said that there is a Greek recipe using greens and cornmeal called “Babanatsa”. I had never heard of it before and google searched it. This pie comes from Epirus and babanatsa is the name of the batter it is made with instead of using phyllo. It resembles a clafouti or “duff,” with the spinach filling popping through the surface. It has lots of other names such as babanetsa, blatsarina, riganada, patsaria, misantra. So I can now say that mine was a combination of four recipes: badjina, babanatsa, spanakopita and crumble!!
On another note, today it’s our wedding anniversary. D and I got married 32 years ago, on 12 October 1980 so we decided to prolong our trip to Athens and celebrate with our children. We shall be returning back to Assini early next week.
Savoury Cornmeal Crumble with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Serves: 1 baking tin 35 x 25 cm (about 12 pieces)
- 1 kilo (2.20 lbs) butternut Squash, grated
- ½ kilo (1.10 lbs) spinach, squeezed
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 500 (1.10 lbs) grams feta, crumbled
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup fennel fronds, finely chopped
- Salt (with caution) and freshly grated black pepper
- A pinch of cumin
- 700 grams (1.54 lbs) corn meal
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 200 ml Greek yoghturt 2%
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp butter or margarine divided (to grease the baking tin and to add on top)
- Grate the pumpkin and mix all the filling ingredients.
- In a large bowl add the crumble ingredients and mix using your hand until the ingredients are well blended to form the crumble. If you still see corn meal, add more olive oil, if necessary.
- Grease a 35 x 25 cm baking tin with 2 tbsp margarine. Add half of the crumble on the baking tin.
- Add the filling on top and sprinkle the remaining crumble on top of the filling.
- Add the remaining margarine in small pieces scattered all over the baking tin.
- Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F and bake for about 1 hour or until the crumble is golden on top.
Serve as a main dish or as a side dish to fish or meat. It’s also lovely as a snack.
Other relevant recipes:
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,