Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Who knew it was possible to have this many feelings?

This many emotions, bundled up, all of the time.

They’re like a loose tumble of sticks, flimsily tethered together. Most of the time I can keep them all in check, but on occasion a stray one or two slips out and clatters to the floor. When it does, it’s a little shocking.

I’m told it has something to do with being around 33 weeks knocked up- and carting something roughly the dimensions of a butternut squash inside.

As one of my dear, wise friends who has been through all of this before just reminded me; I’m processing emotions for two. And it seems this window of time involves a little bit of a hormone flux. Like a teenager, listening to far too much Janis Ian and anticipating and dreading a school dance with equal measure, there are times when it spills over- except this time it’s more likely to be in a supermarket, or while researching a multi vehicle baby ‘transport solution’ rather than walking home from the 603 bus while wearing a blackwatch tartan skirt and lace up shoes.

Muddled in there are feelings of intense gratitude when girlfriends offer to loan you a crib, a change table, a bassinet, and a bundle of freshly washed, blue striped onesies. My first trip to Baby Kingdom last week was frankly terrifying. Not having to outlay the sort of cash I paid for my first car on furniture with a fixed-term of use is definitely a bonus at this point.

There’s the mild guilt when the lady who mans the ‘Parent Education’ desk at the hospital asks why we’re waiting until now to book into any classes. Don’t we know that everyone else booked in a good 20 weeks ago?  Oops. Moving from the other side of the world will waylay things a little bit.

There’s a tepid frustration when you realise that the only available slots to learn how not to drown your baby and how to push it out are at 7 pm on Saturday nights. Date night for the next few weeks should be raging.

There’s the grumpy scratching that comes  from the patch of hormonal eczema that’s flared up again with a vengeance, plucking you from sleep four to five times a night. Any advice on that one, gratefully, gratefully received.

There’s the wrenching self doubt when you’re woken with a start at 5 am- this time by a pulsing, unspoken, grey streaked terror ; ‘what if my baby is hideous?  What if he’s mean and pinched? What- what if- I don’t love him- and I’m stuck with him for life?’

(This is neatly categorised as the ‘What if I give birth to Kevin‘ fear. To which, The Hungry One in all his sage, sensible glory just turns to me and says; ‘I don’t think that’s going to happen. But whatever comes, we’re certainly not going to teach him archery’.)

There’s the creep of revulsion, when reflux and heartburn crescendo to frequent efforts not to vomit at the table after noodles, steak, or Swedish meatballs purchased on a whim during an Ikea ‘Poang’ chair shopping trip coincide with a vigorous upwards kick or two from the fellow sheltering inside. The force is strong with this one.

And then there’s the completely unfounded, but occasional sense of being abandoned. It’s not tethered to any logical port. Despite being swaddled in support, it’s a slinking fear that you’re out there all on your own. This is best expressed with occasional blank expressions while you examine a spot on the wall in the middle distance and welling tears, for a reason you cannot name. When pressed by your spouse, you’ll probably just say ‘I just have lots of….feelings’.

There are things that help. Being told by one of your best friends that at the same time of her gestation she became wracked with sobs because her spouse arranged the banana on top of the pancakes she had made for him so it resembled a sad face is one.

Exercise also improves the situation. Walking, lifting things, but most of all, swimming.

Then there’s music.  I’ve returned to the earlier soundtrack of the stowaway’s existence; James Taylor. At the moment ‘Mexico‘ is getting quite a bit of play.

Which might help explain some of the inspiration for this dish. It takes the butternut squash- and sends it south to hang out with black beans and a murky muddle of spices. It’s solid Sunday night at home food- the sort of thing you can spend a little time pottering about making and then leave to its own devices in the oven while you take a bath, or intimidating yourself by perusing photocopied ‘pathway to birth’ booklets.

If you were craving some meat in your life you could easily add some browned chicken, mince or chorizo to the mix- but this works well as a strapping vegetarian option (feel free to substitute corn tortillas if you’d like a little less white flour on your plate too).

What I like is how carefully everything is wrapped up, nestled and protected. Your inner life may be a right old mess at this stage, but at the very least your dinner will be artfully constrained.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Serves 4, with guacamole and some salad on the side.


450 grams/4 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cut into pieces roughly the size of playing dice (a medium sized butternut squash with the skin and seeds removed should do it).
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
Pinch of chilli flakes (more if you like things spicy)
1 x 400 gram tin of black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup of tomato passata
2 tbsp of chipotle chilli sauce
8 medium sized flour tortillas (or corn if you prefer, though if they are smaller you may require 12)
4 tbsp of goat curd
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 small bunch of coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped

To serve
1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt
Zest and juice of half a lime

 Here’s how we roll

1)  Preheat the oven to 200C/392F.

2) Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the skin off your butternut squash, then a spoon to remove the seeds and pulpy centre.

2) Cut your squash into pieces a little larger than playing dice.

3) Toss your squash pieces in the spices and the olive oil  and sprinkle with a little salt, then transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 20 minutes, until the squash has cooked through and gained a little colour.

4) Turn the oven down to 180C/350 F.

5) In a bowl combine the spiced roasted squash with the black beans, folding them gently together (try not to completely mash the butternut squash as you do this).

5) Mix together the tomato passata and the chipotle sauce. Pour half of this mix into the bottom of a baking dish, about the size of an A4 sheet of paper.

6) Set up a production line of your tortillas, goat cheese, chopped coriander, shredded cheese and butternut squash. Take a tortilla and spread it with half a tablespoon of the goat curd (this adds a nice tang). In the centre of it lay about a third of a cup of the pumpkin and black bean mix. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and chopped coriander. Gently roll up into a log and lay, seam side down into the baking dish.

7) Repeat with the remaining tortillas and ingredients. Nestle the enchiladas on an angle next to each other so they are snug and they all fit.

8) Pour the remaining tomato/chipotle sauce over the top in stripes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

9) Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp at the edges.

10) To make the lime crema mix together the yoghurt with the lime zest and juice. Serve alongside the enchiladas, perhaps with some guacamole and a crunchy green salad.


Forty Weeks of Feasting

Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far.

Week 32 Chilled Honeydew, Cucumber and Mint Soup. Recipe here.
Week 31: Truffled (lower fat) Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. Recipe here.
Week 30: Broccoli, Lemon and Pine Nut Loaf Cake. Recipe here.
Week 29: Red Cabbage, Fennel and Pear Slaw with Pork Chops. Recipe here.
Week 28: Coconut and Almond Bread Pudding. Recipe here.
Week 27: Szechuan Pork Noodles with Smacked Cucumber Salad. Recipe here.
Week 26: Jicama, Chicken and Cashew Salad. Recipe here.


Week 25: Corndogs. Recipe here.
Week 24: Eggplant Moussaka. Recipe here
Week 23 Candied Grapefruit Peel and Dark Chocolate Cookies. Recipe here
Week 22 Roast Carrot and Hummus Soup. Recipe here.
Week 21. Spiced Pomegranate Meatballs with Mint and White Beans. Recipe here.
Week 20 Banana Berry Flax Muffins. Recipe here.
Week 19 Mango Pudding. Recipe here


Week 18 Sweet Potato, Red Onion and Feta Pie. Recipe here


Week 17 Red Pepper, Chicken, Onion and Date Tagine. Recipe here.


Week 16 Avocado Mint Salsa with Pea and Mozzarella Quesadillas. Recipe here.


Week 15 Orange, Polenta and Rosemary Cake. Recipe here.




Wk 14 Lemon Creme Fraiche and Parmesan Pasta. Recipe here


Wk 13 Clementine/Mandarin Curd. Recipe here.
Wk 12 Plum and tomato tartines. Recipe here


Wk 11 Sprout and mushroom gratin (in which we come out of the closet). Recipe here
Wk 10 Date tart. Recipe here
Wk 9 Roasted grapes with baby chickens. Recipe here.


Wk 8 Raspberries and elderflower spritz. Recipe here.


Wk 7 Blueberry pancakes. Recipe here
Wk 6 Lentil and Ginger Soup. Recipe here
Wk 5 Sesame Miso Crisps. Recipe here
Wk 4 Poppy Seed Scrolled Loaf. Recipe here.
  1. It’s been way too long since I had enchiladas! These look wonderful.

  2. Looks delicious! Putting these on the grocery list for this week… and sending calming vibes your way! x

  3. We enjoyed these for dinner on Monday night, with the addition of some pan fried chicken thigh chunks. I only had some chipotle chillies in adobo sauce to add to the sugo – delicious!
    Tuesday night I made your bibimbap salad with the small addition of some crispy bottom rice (I know there’s a name for it??) and served the salad on top – delicious again.
    A happy family

  4. What if I don’t love her/him and am stuck with her/him for the rest of my life is a question I asked myself way to often. The first time round because I didn’t feel all that maternal, even right after giving birth. The second time because I wanted another girl, because I thought I could never love anyone as much as I loved my first, because, because, because… and now I know I have never loved a man quite as much as I love my little boy. Reading that last statement when I was pregnant with my first, by the way, would have generated my other great fear: things will never be the same between the two of us. I don’t want to love anyone more than my husband. I don’t want him to love anyone else more than me. What if they love each other and I am just left out? The truth is, it all works out. Even if you don’t feel maternal, even if you aren’t crazy about other people’s kids, even if you do come to realize that the love for your children is different from any other love you have experienced to date. In time, maybe not immediately, but in time. And it is all fine, because the love for your child is physical, uncontrollable. It just is, even when they drive you up the wall.

  5. The Butternut squash enchiladas look great. I’ve never seen a recipe like it and can’t wait to try it.

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