This is one in a series of guest posts by other bloggers. Read to the end for a longer biographical note on today's guest blogger, my partner and husband, Crackerdog Sam.
Butternut squash is the perfect fall ingredient. I love that Sam has found even more ways to make it for us! Sam crafted this recipe a year or so ago, back when we still ate legumes, but it still happens to be grain-free. If you've gone paleo, you can eat just the butternut topping and skip the bean underpinning.
Guest post by Crackerdog Sam
Years ago, I ate a butternut squash soup that I liked so much I researched how to make a similar one from scratch. The key: roasting the squash with apples and onion in the oven first, before blending.
Eventually, I decided I liked it even better if I skipped making it into soup and just ate it roasted. When serving it as a full meal instead of just a side dish, I started adding a layer of salted mashed pinto beans mixed with bacon pieces as a contrasting element. It's a nice blend of sweet and savory, refreshing and hearty.
- 2 pounds butternut squash, chunked
- 2 medium granny smith apples, peeled and chunked
- 1/2 of a large sweet onion, chunked
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp tarragon
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup Irish cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 15 oz can pinto beans
- 1/2 cup crumbled bacon
- salt to taste
Dietary/allergy notes:Gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, nut-free, sweetener-free. Leave off the cheese and bacon to have it dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan. Leave off the cheese and pinto beans to make it paleo.
Instructions:1) Preheat the oven to 450°. In a 9x13-inch glass pan, add the squash, apples, and onion. Drizzle the olive oil over the chunks evenly. Sprinkle the tarragon, thyme, salt, and pepper evenly, then stir.
2) You'll bake the dish 35 minutes total. At 20 minutes, stir once. At 30 minutes, stir again and add the Irish cheddar on top. Bake 5 additional minutes and it will be ready.
3) While the squash is cooking, open the can of pinto beans, pour off most of the salty liquid, and – without rinsing the beans – pour the rest of the can's contents into a pot. Gently mash the beans with a fork to break the skins and let in some of the liquid. Warm over medium heat, adding the bacon and stirring gently. Taste and salt additionally if needed.
4) When both components are finished, spoon some of the beans onto a plate and top with squash mixture. Serves 4.
Crackerdog Sam (that's his hobo name) is a full-time work-from-home parent.
He shares both the working and the parenting of six-year-old Mikko and two-year-old Alrik with Lauren of Hobo Mama.
He is the resident chef extraordinaire and does all the family's (delicious) cooking.