30 November 2014

It's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club! The Secret Recipe Club is a group of food bloggers who secretly make one of someone else's dishes and post them all on the same day at the same time.  It's really fun, choosing a recipe to make, making the recipe, then reading about everyone else's recipes.  It's a great way to "meet" other bloggers and check out some great blogs that you never knew about before.    

This month I was assigned a blog I know and love, Cupcake Muffin, written by Sara.  I've had Sara's blog on my blog reader for a while now. I love her stuff.  I have even made two of her recipes before.  My Dark Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffins with Chocolate Streusel were adapted from Sara's Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins.  And I made her Indian-Spiced Spinach to go with my SRC pick for September, Potato Chops.  

Did anyone else feel like November just flew by?  I did!  I was working on my Thanksgiving menu when I finally got the chance to sit down and peruse Sara's blog for my assignment this month.  I knew that we would be posting after Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't help including one of her lovely dishes on my Thanksgiving table this year.  Not to worry, though, because this dish would be equally amazing for a Christmas dinner.  Her Butternut Squash Gratin with Goat Cheese and Bacon looked irresistible to me.  Every Thanksgiving I make my family's favorite Sweet Potato Casserole, but I decided to give it a break this year in favor of this awesome butternut squash gratin.  I broke the news gently to my husband, who made me promise to make the sweet potatoes some other time this coming month.  But I think he forgot all about them once he tried this squash gratin.

Butternut Squash Gratin with Goat Cheese and Bacon

8 cups cubed butternut squash (½” cubes)
2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 shallots, minced
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
4 oz. goat cheese
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet (or divide between 2 baking sheets) and toss with 2 tbsp of oil, Kosher salt, and smoked paprika.  Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until squash is slightly tender.  Remove from oven and place squash in a medium mixing bowl.  Reduce oven temperature to 375°.

Heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat and sauté the shallot until it becomes translucent and tender.  Add shallot and chopped bacon to the butternut squash.  Crumble the goat cheese into the squash mixture and mix well.  If the squash is still warm, the goat cheese will melt, which is fine.  

Pour squash mixture into a 1.5 – 2 quart baking dish.  Drizzle with the heavy cream and top with the chopped pecans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings.

This dish made a beautiful addition to my Thanksgiving table this year.

 It fit in perfectly next to the Brussels sprouts and the rolls.

I know this is not a great picture, but it's the only one I managed to snap of the gratin plated up before it totally disappeared!  The goat cheese melted as I stirred it into the warm butternut squash cubes.  I wasn't really expecting that, but I think it worked out really well that way.  

This gratin was so amazing.  It really has a little bit of everything going on: sweet, smoky, tangy, salty, creamy, and crunchy.  It is truly a delight for the senses!  I really loved how it was decidedly savory, despite the sweetness of the squash.  People have a tendency to make butternut squash (and sweet potatoes) even sweeter with brown sugar and cinnamon, etc, but I love finding recipes that make them savory.  I made a few tweaks to Sara's recipe.  First, I changed the flavor profile slightly by using smoked paprika instead of sage.  My family are not huge sage fans and I am more than a little obsessed with smoked paprika.  It just goes so well with butternut squash!  The only other thing I changed was to use shallots instead of leeks.  My husband really doesn't like leeks, and I wanted him to love this dish, so I used shallots instead.  It was a good call because he definitely did love this dish.

I think he's in trouble, though, because I would love to make this every. single. Thanksgiving. from now on!

Please don't wait until next Thanksgiving to make this dish!  It would be a great addition to your Christmas dinner.  Thank you so much for sharing such a great recipe, Sara!

Be sure to check out all the other great SRC recipes below.  Group A is taking a break in January, so our next posting will be the first Monday in February.

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  1. Jane, The Herirage CookDecember 1, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    Fabulous choice Lesa! I'm sure any family would devour this beautiful casserole!

  2. Wow! This sounds spectacular! What a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving dinner! Perfect choice for the SRC! :D

  3. Wow, that sounds amazing! And it looks beautiful, too.

  4. I'm so glad you liked this dish! :) I had forgotten about it and now I am definitely inspired to make it again at Christmas. Love the idea of subbing in smoked paprika -- that sounds awesome! :)

  5. This sounds amazing. Love goat cheese any way you serve it!

  6. Outside of the bacon this looks fantastic! Also a great way to spice up Thanksgiving -or any other dinner. Looks amazing!

  7. I love the idea of adding goats cheese to it - I can just imagine the taste!

  8. What a great addition to a Thanksgiving dinner.

  9. Yum, Lesa! I am currently trying to make one winter squash dish per week, so I am going to add this to my list.