Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

An easy recipe to throw together, full of bold flavors — butternut squash, maple, bacon, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne and thyme.

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Roasted winter squash goes so well with leafy greens – kale, collards, spinach, or any of the other greens you can find in the farmers market right now. I don’t really have a recipe, I tend to wing it. Sometimes I want heat, sometimes I want sweet, and sometimes, like a few nights ago, I wanted both. And bacon, I really wanted bacon in there.

Here is just one of the many ways I prepare squash. The exact amounts will depend on the size of your squash and your personal taste. You could also use this basic recipe for other winter squash and sweet potatoes.

I forgot to do one thing the other night – preheat the pan. That’s why I didn’t get the usual caramelization. Learn from my mistakes. I also forgot to add the ramekin of chopped sage and thyme I had sitting on the counter. Sigh. These things happen when I’m trying to do too much at once. I would never last on Chopped.

Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash with Maple and Bacon | Grabbing the Gusto

Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash with Maple and Bacon | Grabbing the Gusto

Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash with Maple and Bacon

You’ll need a sheet pan, small skillet, large bowl and a metal spatula.

  • A few slices of bacon, chopped
  • Butternut squash – slice off ends, cut squash crosswise where bell/bottom half meets cylinder/top half, peel each half, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic, sliced
  • Minced sage and/or thyme

Preheat the oven and the pan at 450. Fry the bacon in a small skillet. When done, remove with a slotted spoon.

Toss the squash in the bowl with the canola oil, some of the bacon fat and maple syrup. You could use all the bacon fat, I suppose, but I wanted to use some of it to sauté some onion and garlic for the kale we were also having for dinner.

Spread the squash out on the pan. Sprinkle generously with salt, then with the black pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne.

Cook the squash for about 30 minutes, test it with a knife as you get toward the end. Turn them once with the spatula. When it has about 10 minutes to go, mix in the garlic, sage and thyme.

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