Tag Archives: Leeks

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Well hello there, how have you been?  I am not sure what happened but I must have blinked because October is almost over and we haven’t done any blogging.  Yikes.  Luckily, it is fall and we just got our first Winter CSA distribution so there is plenty of inspiration to go around.  The winter CSA is lots of fun because the distributions are over flowing with tons of vegetables, apples, dried beans, and other goodies.  With that big box of yum, we were quickly inspired to make this delicious (almost vegetarian) butternut squash stuffed with flavors of fall.

Apples and Bacon (home cured)

Apples and Bacon (home cured)

The squash is roasted with butter and maple syrup and then filled with a stuffing made from leeks, apples, bacon, brown rice, and more maple syrup.  The stuffing nicely balances the sweet with the savory and makes for a light but filling main dish.  The recipe calls for butternut squash but you could easily substitute acorn or another hard shelled squash if that is what you had on hand.

Chopped Leek

Chopped Leek

This dish requires a few steps to make but it can almost all be done ahead of time.  It makes a great Thanksgiving option because you can prep it all a day or two in advance and then heat it up right before serving.

Ready for Roasting

Ready for Roasting

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

2 medium butternut squash

1 tbls butter

3 tbls real maple syrup, divided

2.5 ounces thick cut bacon

1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 small apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup cooked brown rice

To Make:

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Arrange the squash in a roasting pan, cut side up.  Divide the butter and 1 tbls of the syrup between the four cavities.  Fill the pan with about an inch of water, cover with foil, and roast at 375 until mostly tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, rub the butter and syrup from the cavity all over the squash and cook for another 10-15 minutes until it starts to caramelize around the edges.

Meanwhile chop the bacon and cook in a heavy skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp.  Remove the bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels.  Drain off all but about 1 tbls of the bacon fat from the pan.  Add the leeks and garlic and sauté until the leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the apples to the pan and sauté until they are soft, another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and 2 tbls of maple syrup to bind it all together.  At this point, you can refrigerate both the squash and the stuffing, tightly wrapped in separate containers, until you are ready to serve.
Mound the stuffing into the cavity of the squash halves and bake in a 375 degree oven until warmed through, 10-20 minutes, depending on how cold everything was.
To Serve:
Serve hot as a main dish or as a hefty side.  Make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using olive oil or butter instead of bacon fat for sauteing the filling.  Serves 4.

 

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Filed under Dinner, Fruit, Recipes, Rice, Vegetables

Slow Roasted Leeks

Slow Roasted Leeks

Leeks are beloved in our house.  We get very excited whenever leeks arrive in our CSA boxes or show up at the farmer’s market.  If you have never had leeks they have a mild onion-y and garlicky flavor that is really delicious.  You can finely chop, saute, and add them to soups, quiches, or strata.  Or, you can do what we do… slow roast them with a little butter until they are melt-in-your-mouth soft and delicious.

Fresh CSA Leeks

This is how we make leeks 90% of the time.  It is one of those recipes that is exceptionally simple and uses only a few ingredients but elevates the leeks from a supporting player to a stand-alone side dish.  I know there are other culinary options out there but this is so darn good that we keep coming back to it.  Why mess with perfection?

Washing the grit away

A note on prepping leeks: they tend to be very dirty and gritty because of the way their concentric rings push up through the soil when they are growing.  To help combat this, cut them in half lengthwise and soak them, cut side down, in a deep bowl of cold water.  Don’t be afraid to let them soak for at least 20-30 minutes.  Then remove the halves and rinse under cold running water (I like to separate the leaves at the ends just a little bit to make sure all the grit is rinsed out).  Pat dry before cooking.

Boiled and buttered

Slow Roasted Leeks

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

12 slender leeks, white and light green parts only halved lengthwise, well cleaned (it is helpful to leave the barest sliver of the base intact to help the leaves hold together)

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

4 tbls unsalted butter

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To make:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil.  Add the leeks in a single layer, cut sides down, cover and bring the stock back to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.

Carefully remove the leeks, draining out the excess stock (reserve the stock for another use such as soup or to make mashed potatoes to serve alongside your leeks).  Pour about 1 tbls of the butter into a large baking dish and spread around.  Place the leeks in the baking dish, cut sides up, and drizzle with the remaining butter.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Place the baking dish in the oven and roast, uncovered, until the leeks are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 40-60 minutes.

To Serve:

Serve immediately drizzled with any pan juices that remain.  Serves 4 as a side dish.

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Filed under Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian