Driving to a friends Wisconsin home a few weeks ago, we passed several farms on our way off the highway, many with big pumpkin displays covering the front lawns. Never one to pass something interesting, I stopped. Coming and going, I stopped. The first time, I bought a giant white pumpkin for 2 bucks and a half dozen delicata squash for 25 cents a piece. Score! On the way home a few days later, I stopped again and picked up a few additional squashes – red kuri, a fat pie pumpkin and some strange blue-grey variety who’s name I’ve long forgotten. I spent a total of $6 on both trips, happily stuffing my dollar bills in the honor box while the farm dogs sniffed my muddy boots. Of course I stopped twice, once in the rain. Wouldn’t you?
I was particularly happy about the delicata as it’s one of my favorite squashes – great flavor, an easy-to-work with edible skin and a small, manageable size. Once hard to find outside of a farmers market, I’m delighted to now see delicata in my regular grocery store. Roasting is by far my favorite cooking method and it takes well to many flavors – maple, miso, chile pastes, soy, mustard. They’re the little black dress of the squash world. Another bonus? They’re good keepers so having a few lying around isn’t an issue. Which is good, in my case.
I’ve never been able to walk away from a good deal and because of it, I now found myself with an abundance of squash in many varieties. I also had a big bag of brussels sprouts so I decided to roast them with the delicata, thinking the colors would be rather fetching. I was right. Delicata, brussels, shallots and bacon, roasted until golden and tender then tossed in a sweet-savory sauce of maple syrup and mustard, it was a delicious combination. I’d taken my roadside windfall and turned it into something wonderful, certainly worthy of a place at the holiday table. If you’re looking for a good fall side dish for your Thanksgiving table or Sunday roast, here you go.
STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: FALL COZINESS. This dish is all the best of fall in a big bowl – sweet, savory, spicy, earthy, lively and rather attractive. In my opinion, the combination of maple-mustard-bacon is an all purpose multi-sauce. It goes with damn near everything. It’s good on a spoon, always a great sign, and is particularly good with this combination of vegetables. If you have trouble getting someone in your life to eat their vegetables, try this out for size.
Other squash recipes: Roasted Delicata Squash – 4 Ways, Baked Squash Bread Pudding, Squash & Onion Tart
Six years ago: Cider Donuts
Five years ago: Blue Cheese Dressing with a Wedge Salad
Four years ago: Maple Buttermilk Spoonbread with Glazed Pears
Three years ago: Kale & Squash Salad
Two years ago: Maple Bourbon Carrots, Sunday Lunch Ramen
Last year: Sherry Candied Walnut Salad
MAPLE-MUSTARD GLAZED SQUASH, BRUSSELS SPROUTS & SHALLOTS – loosely based on this recipe
Start the squash and shallots first to give them a little extra time. Use a melon baller to scoop out the squash, it makes quick work of the task and utilizes a tool that should get more love in the kitchen.
1 large delicata squash (about 1 pound)
½ pounds shallots, peeled and quartered
½ pound brussels spouts, stems trimmed then halved
3 pieces thick-cut bacon, cut into ½” strips, (about 2 ½ ounces)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
good pinch of ground cayenne
1 ½ Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 ½ Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise, then crosswise; scoop out the seeds. Cut lengthwise into ½” thick half moons.
- Toss the squash and shallots with 1 Tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper and spread in an even layer on a foil lined sheet pan.
- Roast for 10 minutes then add the brussels sprouts and bacon, moving things around so everything has contact with the sheet pan, preferably cut side down if you’re feeling persnickety.
- Roast, stirring once or twice, until tender and beginning to brown, about 20 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil, rosemary, maple syrup, Dijon, cayenne and a pinch each salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
- Add the roasted vegetables and toss to coat with the dressing. Serve hot or room temperature.