browned butter butternut, kale, crouton & bacon bake with garlic goat cheese sauce.

hellooooo, redundo alliteration recipe title of the year! there’s just no other way to put it.

i should spell crouton with a ‘K’. cuz that would be…kool. i had to mention the croutons in the title because THEY ARE NOT TO BE SKIPPED in this dish!

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ok yum. i invented this in my head because i had a butternut squash i needed to use. turns out to be a perfect thanksgiving-esque side dish, or a dinner of its own.

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for this, there’s a lot of cooking individual items, but they each get cooked in the same exact pan in a very methodical step-by-step process. so, read the recipe first, lol.

butternut squash is terrifying to cut - feel free to use pre-chopped cubes. however, i feel that you get more when you start from a whole squash. but please be careful!!

the one-third cup of butter in this recipe may seem like a lot, but it actually gets used in both tenderizing the butternut squash as well as toasting the sourdough bread croutons.

the remainder of the browned butter after cooking the squash gets ALL absorbed into the sourdough croutons and THAT. IS. WHAT. MAKES. THIS. SO. GOOD. after you salt them, of course. it was hard not to just stand there and eat all those browned buttery, toasty, salty sourdough bits right out of the pan.

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then, the kale & bacon share a cooking arena. in the same pan that the bread was just in! don’t dirty up a zillion pans, people. only one large pan is necessary.

cook the bacon. let the bacon drain on a paper towel. then cook the chopped kale in the bacon grease until just tender and super bright green. beautiful.

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other tasty add-ins!

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toss all the elements in a big bowl and transfer them to the baking dish where they’ll all mingle and get hot togetha. ow owww! add most of the crouton bits on the very top because you want those to get a touch crispier and be the star of the show.

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before baking and after baking…. the squash & croutons get a little more browned and tender. the kale softens and crisps at the edges. the bacon melds its flavors onto all of its neighbors.

scoop some on a plate or bowl to serve. drizzle with the garlicky goat cheese sauce, and yuhuuhuuummm. get every element stabbed onto your fork if you can. so much flavor and richness. the colors are gorg and make me wanna go crunchy leaf stompin.’ plus, it’s warm, cozy & satisfying.

pete & i ate this as dinner (with a sausage on the side, lolz), but this could be a really nice side dish for your holiday gatherings!

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this recipe is built on browned butter and you must go with it.

and remember…. don’t skimp on the sourdough.

texture town, babyyyyy!

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Browned Butter Butternut, Kale, Crouton & Bacon Bake with Garlic Goat Cheese Sauce

Serves 4-6

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, browned in a large non-stick pan

  • 1/2 a large or 1 small butternut squash, seeds removed and cubed into bite-sized chunks

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced into 1” chunks

  • 1-2 cups jagged sourdough chunks, torn from a loaf or baguette - crust included

  • 2 cups of roughly chopped tuscan kale

  • 1 large shallot, sliced into rings - rinsed under hot water in strainer to tame the bite

  • 1/3 cup of chopped chives

  • 1/4 cup pepitas

  • kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup creamy goat cheese (chèvre), room temperature

  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced - rinsed with hot water in fine mesh strainer to tame the bite

  • 2 TB. apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

  • 2 tsp. honey

  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Instructions-

Wash and carefully cut the exterior skin off the butternut squash. Slice in half, remove & discard the seeds. Cut the squash into 1/2 inch bite-sized bits. Alternatively, use pre-cut butternut squash cubes from the store.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

On the stove top, brown the butter in a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Constantly whisk the butter in the pan until it foams and brown flecks appear, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue to whisk for about 30 more seconds to prevent burning.

Return pan to heat and add the cubed butternut squash. Toss frequently with a spatula, coating with browned butter. Add some generous pinches of kosher salt as you toss the squash until slightly tender and deep orange, 5-8 minutes. Keep in mind that you’re going to put the squash in the oven, so you don’t want it to become too tender or mushy in the pan.

Scoop the slightly tenderized squash into a large bowl, leaving the browned butter in the pan on medium heat. Throw the rugged torn chunks of sourdough into the hot browned butter. Toss frequently on medium-high heat until toasty and golden (still tender - not too crunchy), 3-5 minutes. The bread will soak up the remainder of the browned butter. Remove from heat and toss with a generous pinch of salt.

In the same pan, cook the chopped bacon til brown & cooked, but not too crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.

Sauté the kale in the bacon grease until tender and bright, 2-3 minutes.

Place the cooked bacon and kale in the large bowl with the cooked squash. Add the chopped chives, rinsed shallot rings, and pepitas. Toss gently until all ingredients are dispersed. Lastly toss half of the toasted sourdough croutons into the mixture and combine.

Place the mixture in at least a 1 quart baking dish. Press the remaining half of sourdough croutons on top. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until croutons & squash are a bit more browned and the kale is crisp.

While the squash dish is baking, make the garlic goat cheese sauce. In a small bowl, thoroughly stir the room temperature goat cheese, garlic clove, ACV or RWV, honey and black pepper until very very smooth. Plate the baked squash and drizzle the goat cheese sauce over individual servings.

Serve immediately! Reheat within 2 days at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

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easy butternut squash & goat cheese spread.

after having looked at the word ‘squash’ for the last 10 minutes…..whoa. that’s a weird one.

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oh, you butternut squash and your versatile ways.

i love eating all kinds of squash during the fall - in sooo many forms! you can roast a whole butternut squash and continue to use it in all kinds of different recipes all week long.

this week on the squash-for-dinner front: pete and i had stuffed acorn squash with arugula, sausage & goat cheese one night, butternut squash in a big salad the next night, spaghetti squash with pesto the next night, and spaghetti squash crisped up with pulled pork, corn & salsa the next night.

and the shirt i’m wearing right now is squash colored. I AM SQUASH.

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this dip/spread is so simple and you only really need 2 or 3 ingredients, but you can spruce it up with some other fun stuff like lemon, green onion, sunflower seeds or pepitas for texture!

if you prefer feta cheese over goat cheese, that would be a great substitute.

serving this warm and fresh on toasty bread is quite cozy & delightful. it also goes great with different veggies for dipping!

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Easy Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Spread

Yields 2-3 cups

Total Time: 45 minutes, Active Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a medium/large butternut squash, seeded and roasted

  • 5 oz. soft goat cheese

  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

  • lemon juice or 1 tsp. white vinegar (optional, for acidity)

  • green onion (optional topping)

  • pepitas (optional topping)

  • sunflower seeds (optional topping)

Instructions-

To roast the squash, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove all the seeds. Lightly oil the skin of the squash and poke all over with a fork. Place in a rimmed baking pan skin side up and fill the pan with a little bit of water to create steam and prevent the bottom of the squash from burning. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the squash is fork tender.

Allow the squash to cool for a few minutes and scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a large food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add about 1/4 cup of water to help smooth it out if necessary. Half of a butternut squash will yield about 2 cups of squash purée.

Add the softened goat cheese and salt to the food processor and run/pulse until very smooth.

If you’d like your dip/spread to taste a little more bright, add a squeeze of lemon or a teaspoon or vinegar to wake it up.

Serve warm with toasted baguette, pita or bread of choice & vegetables! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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i am one with the squash.

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enjoy!

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