Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Charred Autumn Squash Mash with Bacon

A few years ago I made twice-baked butternut squash potatoes. I adapted a recipe and it didn't turn out great. Looking back on it, I can see that I did things by choice I wouldn't do the same way today. Then sometimes I just get excited and go astray by accident because I didn't read the ingredients list thoroughly and it's still good.

Originally written for a buttercup squash, I used a butternut in this recipe. And honestly, I didn't realize that until right now. I didn't know that if a squash name started with "b" it'd be anything but a butternut. Did you? Not only was I supposed to use a buttercup, but the squash wasn't supposed to be peeled. I just looked at how long that squash line was on the ingredients list and assumed "peeled" was in there.

Charred Autumn Squash Mash with Bacon
adapted from Cooking Club, Fall 2013
click to print

6 slices apple-wood smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
3 (6-inch) sprigs fresh thyme
3 (6-inch) sprigs fresh sage
3 lb. buttercup squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into wedges (2-2.5")
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c sliced shallots
3/4 - 1 c hot whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400°F.

Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes or until brown and slightly crisp; drain on paper towels. Reserve bacon drippings in skillet.

Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil, lightly coat foil with cooking spray. Arrange thyme and sage on baking sheet. Lightly brush cut edges of squash with 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon drippings; place cut-side-down over herbs.

The hot bacon grease cooled quickly when brushed onto the squash pieces. The solidified grease made the squash look like candles.

Bake 20 minutes; turn squash. Bake until browned and tender, 10-40 minutes.

The second baking time was supposed to be 10-15 minutes according to the original recipe.

Transfer squash to large bowl; reserve herb sprigs. Using potato masher, mash squash until smooth.

Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in skillet. Add butter to skillet and heat over medium until hot.

Add shallots; cook 1 minute or until softened, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to low; stir in mashed squash.

Slowly stir in 3/4 cup milk, adding additional milk to desired consistency.

Crumble roasted herb leaves over squash, discarding stems.

Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon for garnish; stir in remaining bacon, salt and pepper.

Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until hot, stirring constantly. Serve garnished with reserved 2 tablespoons bacon.

As I said above, the recipe turned out well even though I didn't follow the directions to a T. I thought the milk in the squash mash would be weird, but nope, not at all. The roasted herbs looked crazy since they were so dark and crispy but what a pleasant little trick! With the bacon there was nice variation in texture and little flavor explosions. Yep, this was a good one.

When I do this next time, I'll plan for 60 minutes of roasting time and will flip the squash after 30 minutes.

  • apple-wood smoked bacon: $1.56
  • fresh thyme: $1
  • fresh sage: $0.56
  • butternut squash: $2.76
  • unsalted butter: $0.05
  • shallots: $0.72
  • whole milk: $0.25
Total: $6.90 or about $1.15 for each of six servings.