I ate this dish all winter long when I lived in Dundee, often served over brown rice and sprinkled with goat cheese. It makes fantastic leftovers. It can be frozen, too, although the butternut squash doesn’t make it out the other side of freezing with quite the same texture. I suspect that if you didn’t cook it to squishiness, it would do better.
- 1 medium butternut squash (1 – 1.5 lb is fine for 4 servings)
- Curly leafed kale, washed and torn into pieces (Somewhere in the range of 200-400g, but really, you can never have too much kale)
- 6 cloves of garlic (You can use less than this if that’s a lot of garlic to you)
- 8 slices of bacon (I have been using back bacon, which I prefer, but I don’t know if you can get that in the US very easily. Any bacon will do)
- 250 g of cooked white beans (canned is fine)
- Olive oil
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Sea salt
- Balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and cut into about a half-inch dice. Don’t worry about peeling it, it will be roasted and then the peel is quite edible.
- Toss the butternut squash with a half tablespoon or so of olive oil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. If you like it spicy, add more red pepper flakes. If you don’t, omit those entirely.
- Arrange the butternut squash chunks in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the preheated oven. Those will cook until they are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes. If you feel inclined while the squash is cooking, you can flip the chunks over to encourage even browning. I usually don’t bother.
- While the squash is cooking, cut the bacon into small pieces. (This is easier if the bacon is very cold. Alternatively, use scissors, which is what I always do.)
- In a large skillet (think something large enough to accommodate the bacon, kale, beans, and squash), cook the bacon slowly over low or medium-low heat to render out the fat.
- While the bacon and squash are cooking, peel and finely chop the garlic. (You can save yourself some time here by using a garlic press on the fresh garlic or using jarred garlic).
- When the bacon is done cooking (ie, is of the crispiness you desire and has been divested of most of its fat), remove it from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Now, here you can drain the bacon grease from the skillet if you’d prefer to use a non-saturated fat such as olive oil. If you do not use the bacon grease, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet in its stead.
- Add the garlic to the skillet with the bacon grease or olive oil, and let it cook for a bit. It’s okay if the garlic gets somewhat golden, but be careful that it doesn’t burn, as it gets bitter and less tasty then.
- Once the garlic has softened somewhat, add the kale to the skillet. Stir until wilted.
- When the kale is wilted but still bright green, add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the skillet and stir to coat the kale. You may need a trifle more balsamic vinegar than that, but add it to the skillet incrementally to avoid kale that is soupy with vinegar. Cook the kale and balsamic vinegar until the vinegar has largely evaporated, and what is left is clinging to the kale.
- Add the cooked beans to the skillet until they are heated through.
- At this point, the squash should be done. Add both the roasted squash and the bacon into the skillet, stir to combine, and et voila!