Roast butternut with poached eggs & chilli butter

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Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey


By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

This dish is a bit of a hybrid really, the combination of a brunch dish at The Providores that we call Turkish eggs, and spicy roast butternut squash, or pumpkin, that I had left in my fridge. Turkish eggs have been a huge hit at the restaurant, and I first came across them in 1999 when I went to Istanbul for the first time. There they are called Qilbir and are often referred to as prostitute’s eggs. Much like the more famous sugo alia puttanesca (prostitute’s sauce) from Italy which is used on pasta dishes, the legend behind the name is up for dispute. However, the version I prefer is simply that it’s quick to rustle up between clients and it’s a hearty simple meal. Allepo chillies, named after the northern Syrian town, are what you ideally need for this, but you can use mild chilli flakes instead, or even chopped fresh red chillies. Aleppo chilli flakes are quite oily in texture and have very few seeds in them. In Turkey, they add raw chopped garlic to the whipped yoghurt but we don’t at the restaurant - it can come as a bit of a surprise to our breakfasting customers. If you can’t be bothered roasting the butternut squash then don’t panic, it’s great without it, but I would recommend some toasted crusty bread. When poaching eggs the trick is to use a deep pot of rapidly simmering water, just off centre on the stove. Never add salt to poaching water, but do add a generous amount of white vinegar (60 ml vinegar per litre of water).


  • 200 g peeled butternut squash (or pumpkin), seeds removed
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp chilli flakes
  • 100 g strained plain yoghurt (Turkish or Greek yoghurt)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 40 g butter
  • a little torn coriander and/or flat parsley leaves
  • 4 eggs
  • white vinegar


Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut the butternut into chunks, toss with a little of the olive oil, a good pinch of the chilli flakes and some flaky salt. Lay on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and roast until cooked - around 15 minutes. Keep warm.

Beat the yoghurt with the garlic for 10 seconds, then beat in 4 teaspoons of the olive oil and beat until emulsified. Leave at room temperature.

Place the butter in a small pan and cook over a moderate heat until it turns a golden nut-brown colour. Add the remaining chilli flakes and leave them to sizzle for 10 seconds, then take off the heat and stir in the remaining olive oil and the herbs. Keep warm.

Poach your eggs in simmering acidulated water as described on the left.

To Serve

Divide the butternut amongst warmed plates and spoon on half the yoghurt. Sit two poached eggs on top then dollop on the remaining yoghurt and spoon over the chilli butter. Eat these while they’re really hot.