I haven’t done much creative cooking for a couple of weeks, partially because I spent some time traveling for work, and partially because it takes a lot of time and thought to cook creatively and well, I just got a bit lazy. It happens to the best of us, right?
But I’m back! And I’m still dealing with the surfeit of squash from my fall CSA. I still have a buckskin pumpkin, a tropical pumpkin (I can’t remember the real name) and a blue Hubbard squash (along with a few other assorted squashes). I was told when I picked up the blue Hubbard squash not to use it until January, so I have a bit of time for that one, at least! The tropical pumpkin is supposed to be a shocking, almost neon orange color on the inside. I can’t wait! So far, I’ve noticed that the uglier the squash on the outside (kobacha squash, anyone?), the tastier it is on the inside, so I have high hopes for these two.
Tonight, I decided to work with one of the smaller squashes from my CSA – a beautiful carnival squash. I cut in into quarters, scooped our the seeds and gunk and sprinkled each quarter with salt and pepper. It was a very pretty squash – yellow and orange, cute little acorn shape…so going by my uglier squash taste better theory, I thought that a cute little squash like this might need some flavor help.
Hence – bacon. Everything is better with bacon! Especially bacon that I just got Saturday from Duma’s, a local meat market and an awesome place.
I diced three pieces of bacon, and mixed the diced bacon bits with 2 cloves of garlic (minced), some dried rosemary, olive oil and a little bit of hickory syrup. How is it different from maple syrup? Well, I don’t really know. But it came from Shisler’s Cheese House in Smithville, Ohio and it just sounded nifty, so I bought it a couple of months ago. This was the perfect chance to use it!
I put the squash on a baking sheet and spooned the bacon mixture into the hollow of each piece. I baked them at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes, then broiled them for a couple of minutes at the end to make sure the bacon was nice and crispy.
I will admit that the texture of the squash was not my favorite. Not bad! Just not my favorite. It wasn’t as velvety as the kobacha, or even a butternut squash – it was closer to a spaghetti squash. But the flavor was awesome! The crispy bacon and the sweetness from the hickory syrup went perfectly with the squash.
Although this could easily be a main dish, I will admit that I had it as a side dish with a strip steak (also from Duma’s) grilled simply with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Yum!!
Here’s the recipe and approximate amounts. This could be used with any type of squash – I might try it again with the butternut I still have…
Carnival Squash with Bacon and Garlic
- 1 Carnival Squash
- 2-3 strips of bacon
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (sage or some type of Italian seasoning would be good as well)
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup (I used hickory syrup because it’s what I happened to have)
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Quarter the squash and remove the seeds. Place the quarters on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Edit: I recommend lining the baking sheet with foil. Cleanup would have been much easier if I had done that.)
Dice the bacon. Mix with garlic, rosemary, syrup and olive oil. Spoon bacon mix into each squash quarter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. If needed, broil for 1-2 minutes at the end of cooking to ensure crispy bacon.
Eat and enjoy!