BUTTERNUT BURGERS WITH CHORIZO & HALLOUMI

‘I’m already half way down the rabbit hole of overindulgence so why stop now?’

In the absence of meat, one must always introduce cheese. It’s the rule. Well maybe not to Vegans but any Vegan looking at Mikey and the Kitchen would be well aware by now that many a dead animal has been dragged across my kitchen countertop so suffice to say we’re in safe territory here. However these burgers – believe it or not – are indeed not made of any kind of cow but more a specifically cut butternut squash!

Now I know these ‘burgers’ have chorizo in them so they’re not technically meat free, but if you leave the chorizo out they would be? So how about we say they’re kind of meat free but not really but could be?

I had the neck of a squash lying around my fridge (the main body of the squash went on a previous recipe – Roast Squash & Leeks with Thyme Buttermilk Sauce) so I had to do something with it sharpish. Carnivore that I am knew that a butternut burger wouldn’t satisfy my bloodlust therefore I threw in some chorizo bits that I also had lying around in the fridge.

The salad I had with it wasn’t really a salad and had no premeditated design, it was merely some rocket tossed up with quartered baby radishes (my favourite) and dressed with a little of the leftover Thyme Buttermilk sauce from the above recipe.

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Preheat the oven to 200C and slice your butternut squash neck (the long part of the squash) into discs or ‘burgers’, so to speak. On a shallow roasting tray, pour a small amount of olive oil before sprinkling in some dried sage, some paprika, a little black pepper and some salt. Throw your discs on to the tray and begin smushing them about a bit so that they are coated in the herbs and spices. Slide your ‘burgers’ in the oven for 30 minutes.

Grab a block of halloumi and slice off as many slices as you need – one slice for every slither of squash and leave to one side. Slice a small tube of chorizo into quarters (I slice once down diagonally and then twice horizontally) so that you are left with small chunks. In a wide frying pan, drop in the chorizo bits and fry gently until they are heated through and seeping their paprika juices.

About 20 minutes into the squash cooking time, remove the tray from the oven. Turn each ‘burger’ over before placing a slice of halloumi on top. Cut two bread buns in half and if there’s room on the tray, place them on – if not, put in the oven along with the cheese topped squash slices for the last ten minutes. Once the halloumi has burnt a bit on the sides, remove from the oven and slide in the buns. Top with the bits of chorizo and serve.

I mean, it goes without saying you can tart these up as you wish. I mixed a little mayonnaise and hot sauce and ‘buttered’ my buns with this concoction whereas the person I was eating with ate his with ketchup (that was his suggestion, not mine). You could even do away with the chorizo if you wanted a totally meatless feast, either way it’s a nice alternative to a burger when you feel like you want something slightly lighter this side of Christmas!

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