Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Roasted Squash and Leek Gratin

I don't usually choose the vegetarian option for my main dish, but when my mother-in-law served this at a family dinner a while ago I fell in love. Yes, I like just about anything with leeks, but I generally don't like butternut squash (it all goes back to this butternut mole soup I had to make every Friday for months...). This dish is really about the combination of flavors - the sweet-but-not-too-sweet roasty squash, the savory perfectness of the cooked leeks, the tang of the goat cheese, and then the toasted nuts and barley to round it out.
When I make this I think of Rachel Ray because you get the first three steps going all at once (and that's what she's all about - how many pots can you get going at once). So you rush around for 20 to 30 minutes getting everything set up, but then you pop it in the oven for the last 30 minutes and you're relaxed by the time it's ready.

Roasted Squash and Leek Gratin
serves 4 for dinner, 6 to 8 as a side

1 cup pearl barley (measured before cooking)
2 to 3 cups stock
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut bite-sized
2 large leeks
2 T butter
5 oz. goat cheese
1 cup cream
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

  • Get the barley going (it cooks pretty much like rice): Rinse the barley, bring the stock to a boil, add the barley to the stock, cover, reduce the heat so it simmers for about 30 minutes. You can also leave the barley out if you want.
  • Get the squash in the oven: Toss the peeled cubes with salt and pepper and olive oil, spread them out over two cookie sheets, roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. They should be mostly cooked and just starting to brown on the edges.
  • Get the leeks on: Remove the tough green parts and the roots, slice longways and then into thin half-moons, rinse well, saute in the butter until super soft - about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Spread the barley in the bottom of a buttered 9x13 pan.
  • Toss the leeks and squash together gently (the squash might want to fall apart here) and layer over the barley.
  • Dot the top of the casserole with pieces of the goat cheese, then drizzle the cream over everything and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving.


  1. yum! This is now on my list of dinners for next week.

  2. This sounds delish! Thanks so much for giving the vegs another fantastic dinner option.

  3. The picture of this is awesome! I'm making it pronto.

  4. Made this last week for dinner, using Cheshire instead of goat's cheese in a sauce instead of crumbled over the top. And almonds instead of hazelnuts, as that's what I had on hand.

    This was loved by all for dinner, with second helpings all round, and still enough leftover for a lunch portion the next day.

    I don't usually opt for the veg recipes either, but this had lots of things to like, and it was delicious. And your blog is a new favorite!


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