We say our farewells to summer in August and hand over the seasonal baton to September – nature’s last blaze of golden glory before the dark nights creep in. And to be honest, our favourite season here at Lewis & Clarke. We witness a dazzling visual display of gold and crimson and watch as the summer birds head south for warmer climates. Keep your eyes peeled for a swarm of swallows preparing for their travels.

In our kitchens, we move from strawberries to blackberries, and butternut squash, pumpkins, and many others come into season. Our dinners move from summer BBQs and light salads to hearty, warming comfort food. This recipe provides the warming comfort of autumn but is still light enough should we be blessed with an Indian summer! It is a favourite in Casa L&C, and we are sure it will soon become a favourite in your home.

Bacon-wrapped Cod with Butternut & Sage Risotto (serves 2)

320g cod loin
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon
500ml of vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp Black & Gold rapeseed oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
150g of risotto rice
50-75ml of dry white wine
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into half inch pieces
25g parmesan, grated (or use a vegetarian alternative)
25g unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
8 fresh sage leaves (2 leaves diced for risotto, 4-6 leaves for plating)

Bacon-wrapped Cod 

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Cut the cod loin into two equal pieces. Place a sheet of baking parchment on a chopping board and layer on three bacon slices overlapping each piece slightly. Place the cod towards one side of the bacon sheet and then neatly wrap the bacon trimming off any excess. Repeat for the second piece of cod.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, and when hot, place the cod presentation side down in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes or until it is golden and crispy. Flip the cod and add butter; baste the top of the fish with the foaming butter for a minute or so.

Transfer to the oven for 6-8 minutes

Butternut squash purée

Roast the prepared butternut squash in a preheated oven at 200ºC until tender (approx 15-20 minutes). Then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. If you want to add some richness, add a splash of stock and a small knob of butter before blitzing. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for two to three days.

Crispy Sage leaves

Gently fry whole sage leaves in a little Black & Gold rapeseed oil in a frying pan until crisp, then set aside on kitchen paper.

Risotto

Heat oil in a large pan, then add the shallots, garlic and sage and sauté. Next, add the rice and mix everything together, letting the rice toast for a couple of minutes. Then add the wine and let the alcohol cook-off.

Slowly begin to pour the broth (if homemade broth, warm in a pan before adding to risotto, if using a stock cube/pot, you can pour from a jug) into the risotto, about 150-200ml at a time, stirring and letting the rice absorb the broth before adding more. Continue until the rice is al dente. When the risotto is done, stir in the butternut squash purée, parmesan, butter, mascarpone and seasoning. 

To Serve

Equally, share out risotto between two bowls or coupé plates. Place prepared cod on top and place crispy sage leaves around.

TOP TIPS

Cod can be substituted for hake, coley, pollock or haddock.

If you want to give the bacon a miss, we recommend a nice piece of sea trout, which is very sustainable now.

The risotto can be amazing on its own. After roasting the butternut squash, keep half back before making the purée. When adding the purée at the end, add the reserved butternut cubes and enjoy a warming, filling veggie dinner.

If you are not one for chopping veggies, frozen butternut squash is just as good and saves you a bit of time.

The risotto is an excellent base for many options, so why not try making different purées to add to your risotto base depending on the menu.