Butternut Squash with Bacon, Blue Cheese & Candied Pecans
D'Artagnan | Yield: Serves 4
Here’s a pretty winter side dish that’s super easy to make. Butternut squash is oven-roasted in bacon fat before being tossed with crispy bacon bits and spicy-sweet pecans. We added a little crumbled blue cheese for a sharp bite but it’s totally optional.
- 6 slices Hickory Smoked Bacon
- 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ cup whole pecans
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1” chunks
- Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, roughly chop and set aside; pour off the bacon fat into a small bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl stir together sugar, water, 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat, a pinch of salt, and the cayenne pepper, if using.
- Place the skillet back over medium heat and toast the pecans, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar mixture to the pan and stir constantly until nuts are evenly coated, about 20 seconds. Remove from heat and spread in a single layer on a parchment lined plate. Set aside to cool.
- Spread squash and thyme sprigs in an even layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Toss to coat evenly; season with salt and pepper. Roast until squash is soft and lightly caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove sheet pan from oven and cool for about 5 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs.
- Break apart pecans if stuck together and roughly chop. Add pecans and bacon to the squash and toss gently to mix. Place mixture in a warm serving dish. Dot with blue cheese, if using; serve.