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Lamb and Butternut Squash Gratin with Hazelnut Crust is a great comfort dish to keep you warm during the cold season and my little twist to the traditional French "Hachis Parmentier" made of ground beef or leftover meat, mashed potatoes, and topped with a crust made of bread crumbs and cheese.
Lamb in this dish adds a great flavor and pairs really well with the butternut squash. The hazelnut crust gives a nice little crunch and nutty taste to this dish.
I love the vibrant colors of the fall season in my plate.
It also was the first occasion for me to use my Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment to make my own ground lamb. I used pieces of a boneless leg lamb (trimmed of excess fat and sinew). I had a great result; my gratin was not very fatty.
Lamb and Butternut Squash Gratin
Mashed butternut squash
- 800 g butternut Squash, cut in cubes
- 400 g potatoes, cut in cubes
- ⅓ cup milk
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 600 g ground lamb
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 ¼ cup tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon cinnamom
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- salt, pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 50 g hazelnut, finely chopped
- 25 g panko
- 25 g Parmesan and Pecorino Romano
- 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning
To make mashed butternut squash
- Cook the butternut squash and potatoes in a steamer or in water. Smash the vegetables, add salt. I like to put olive oil in my mashed vegetables, as it gives a delicious flavor that my family likes. I also add a little bit of butter and milk until I have the right consistency; not too thick, not too runny.
To make the lamb filling
- While the butternut and potatoes are cooking you can prepare the lamb filling. In a pan, put oil, add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add ground lamb to pan and continue cooking until cooked through and browned (use a spoon to drain excess of fat if needed). Season with salt and pepper.
- Then add the tomato sauce, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Cook a few minutes until the water evaporates and mixture thickens.
- Preheat oven at 380 F.
To make the hazelnut's topping
- In a bowl, combine hazelnuts, panko, Parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano and 2 tablespoon of olive oil just to moisten this topping.
To assemble the dish
- Remove the bay leaves from the meat and spread all the mixture in 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish.
- Do the same with the mashed vegetables over the mixture.
- Evenly sprinkle the hazelnut's topping and herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning on the top of the dish.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden.