40 Minutes Plus soaking time
300g of wild or black rice
300g of acorn, butternut, kabocha or crown prince squash, scrubbed (only peel if skin is really tough), seeds removed and cut into 1.5–2-cm slices
2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil, plus an extra drizzle for the squash
30g of butter, plus a knob for frying the sage
A small bunch of sage leaves, plus 2 leaves thinly sliced
250g of halloumi, cut into 1-cm slices
2 sprigs of thyme
2 onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g of mushrooms (I love a mixture of wild mushrooms such as ﬁeld mushrooms, winter girolles and ceps, but chestnut and oyster mushrooms work really well too), small kept whole, larger roughly sliced
1 glass of white wine
250g of sour cream
1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
50g of cavolo nero (or purple or green kale), stalks removed and leaves roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak the black rice in cold water for a minimum of 30 minutes (and up to 2 hours) before you cook it.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
Toss the sliced squash with a drizzle of olive oil – just enough to coat it all over – and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Spread it out on a baking sheet or roasting tray, making sure the slices are well spaced. If you need to, use two trays. Roast in the oven for 30–35 minutes, until softened and colouring, but not falling apart. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the squash is roasting, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan or skillet over a medium heat, then add the knob of butter and once that’s melted, add the whole sage leaves and fry for no more than 30 seconds until crispy, being careful not to burn them. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper, then season with sea salt flakes.
Add the halloumi to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until crispy and golden. Transfer the halloumi to a plate and set to one side with the sage.
Cook the rice according to packet instructions, fork through and keep warm.
Add the 30g butter and the thyme to the pan, along with the onions, and fry for about 10–15 minutes, until sweet and softened. Add the garlic, mushrooms and sliced sage leaves and cook for about another 6 minutes, until the mushrooms are coloured and have released their moisture. Pour in the white wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated, then stir in the sour cream and Dijon mustard. Once it’s bubbling add the cavolo nero leaves, and cook for 3–5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the cavolo nero is cooked, adding a slosh of water if the sauce needs it. Stir through the roasted squash and halloumi. Serve on piles of warm rice, with the crispy sage leaves scattered on top.