Butternut squash and feta falafel with smoked chilli crème fraîche

Makes 30 Starters and mains

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Ingredients

  • 800g butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 40g bulgur wheat
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1tsp toasted cracked
  • cumin seeds
  • 1tsp toasted cracked coriander seeds
  • ½ bunch chopped coriander
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g gram flour
  • 200g feta cheese
  • groundnut oil, for deep-frying

For the smoked chilli crème fraîche

  • 200g crème fraîche
  • 2-3tbsp smoked chilli jelly or chilli jam

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Cut the butternut squash into 2-3cm chunks. Place in a roasting tin and drizzle with some olive oil, season with sea salt, chilli flakes and fennel seeds and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool.

When cool, place the butternut squash pieces in a blender, together with any juices. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the flour and feta cheese, and blitz to a rough paste. Season to taste.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add enough gram flour to make a smooth mix. Refrigerate for an hour to firm the mixture up. It should be sticky rather than really wet, so add a little more gram flour if necessary. Wet your hands and form into ping pong ball-shaped sizes with chunks of the feta in the middle.

Heat the groundnut oil in a large pan to 175°C/350°F and fry the balls in batches for 3-4 minutes until golden. Remove rom the oil and drain. Mix the crème fraîche with the chilli jelly or jam to create a dip, and serve with the hot falafel balls.

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