butternut squash stuffed mushrooms with goat cheese + balsamic glaze

butternut squash stuffed mushrooms with goat cheese + balsamic glaze | theclevercarrot.com

I ate a poisonous mushroom once.

My free-spirited self wandered out into the backyard and just went for it. I was three. I don’t actually remember this but my mom does. According to her, I ate a lot of unauthorized things. I would even snack off other peoples’ picnic blankets at the beach. Restaurants were a nightmare. Oh, and you know those red snot berries that grow on pine trees? (I’m not a botanist- I apologize for the poor reference…). I wanted them SO badly for my witch’s brew in my imaginary cauldron with mud and sticks. You see? I was always into food. Life at three years old was one big communal table.

It still is….

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thai pumpkin soup with tangled scallions + crispy rice cake croutons

thai pumpkin soup with tangled scallions + crispy rice cake croutons | theclevercarrot.com

Fall is nostalgia.

The change of seasons ignites a flurry of wistful memories. I think back to 4th grade, waiting for the bus sporting brand new Keds, scrunch socks, and side pony tails. Comfort meals such as pasta and lentils would frequent our dinner table. Red candy apples and costumes (I was a Hershey Kiss one year- thanks mom) also come to mind.

For now, winter will be tempered by colorful autumn leaves. But it’s hard to ignore that feeling in the air… along with the familiar smell of pumpkin soup….

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roasted butternut squash with brown sugar bacon + some leftover inspiration

roasted butternut squash with brown sugar bacon | The Clever Carrot

I have a tendency to over do it when it comes to butternut squash.

No matter how I look at it (literally), I can never estimate how much I’m going to need. How many pounds in this thing again? So I grab a bunch and hope for the best. And what started out as an innocent pan roast turned into something more than I bargained for; 3 delicious meals.

The original plan was to roast the squash with lots of fragrant herbs like rosemary and sage. Love that combination with smoky bacon. If you can get your hands on some Applewood smoked bacon, go for it. Lashings of maple syrup and Dijon mustard followed, with a sprinkle of brown sugar on top. I served it alongside a roast pork tenderloin for my carnivorous boys.

roasted butternut squash with brown sugar bacon | The Clever Carrot

Our leftovers gave way to some freestyle creations. The first was a warm spinach salad served with our favorite dressing. We fought over the bacon…

roasted butternut squash with brown sugar bacon | The Clever Carrot

And then we made soup.

I pureed the leftover squash with chicken stock, reserving the bacon and sage leaves for garnish. You could also roast the seeds, as I did here, and top with yogurt or crème frâiche.

roasted butternut squash with brown sugar bacon | The Clever Carrot

I’ve only included the original roasted squash recipe as it’s the mothership for all three. The salad and soup are simply ideas that can be adapted to your liking based on how much you have leftover. Not bad for one pan, eh? Enjoy!

Tips:

  • The biggest mistake when roasting butternut squash is to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding will cause the squash to steam rather than caramelize, thus creating extra moisture. To avoid this, use a very large roasting pan/tray and spread out the squash evenly in one single layer. None of the pieces should be touching, and ample space in between is ideal.
  • Peeling your butternut squash is optional (I skip it!) When roasted, the skin gets incredibly soft and is edible. It adds a nice textural element as well.
roasted butternut squash with brown sugar bacon + some leftover ideas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 4 cups)
  • 4-6 slices of bacon (depending on your preference)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4 sprigs of sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar, divided
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut the butternut squash into 1½ inch cubes (peeled or un-peeled). Reserve the seeds if you'd like to roast them.
  3. Stack the bacon slices on top of each other, and cut into 4 chunks. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl combine the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp. of brown sugar.
  5. Add the butternut squash to a large roasting pan. Make sure that the squash is spread out evenly, in one single layer. Do not overcrowd the pan. *See note below.
  6. Drizzle the squash with olive oil to coat.
  7. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the squash, and toss together with your hands. It may seem a bit dry, this is ok. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add the rosemary and sage sprigs.
  9. Separate the bacon slices and drape them over the squash.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp. of brown sugar on top of the bacon.
  11. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and begins to caramelize about 30-40 minutes.
  12. Heat under the broiler for a couple of seconds to crisp up the bacon. Make sure it doesn't burn!
  13. Serve warm.
Notes
*The biggest mistake when roasting butternut squash is to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding will cause the squash to steam rather than caramelize, thus creating extra moisture. To avoid this, use a very large roasting pan/tray and spread out the squash evenly in one single layer. None of the pieces should be touching, and ample space in between is ideal.