Braised Butternut Squash & Bacon Tacos with Arugula

I know that “Taco Tuesday” is a popular dinner plan… It is just a plan that doesn’t work with my kids’ after school schedule. 😦 We are trying to have “Soup Tuesday” because everyone has to eat at different times! So, the exciting new plan is to have “Taco Wednesday” – with enough time for my to execute my “Taco Tuesday” recipe from Rick Bayless. 😉 Great!

These are wonderful winter tacos featuring one of my favorite combinations- butternut squash and bacon. The tomatillo-chipotle sauce was an added bonus. (as was the arugula!) This recipe was adapted from RickBayless.com. I modified the plating, doubled the recipe, and increased the garlic. Yummy!

I’m sharing my “Taco Wednesday” dish at Fiesta Friday #105 this week! 😉 Hosted by Lily @ Little Sweet Baker and Julianna @ Foodie on Board. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6

  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 6 to 8 medium (about 1 pound) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half across the equator
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, stemmed
  • 1 small (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 6 cups of chunks)
  • 4 oz (5 thick strips) bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • Generous handful fresh watercress or wild arugula
  • 12 to 16 corn tortillas
  1. Set a large (12-inch) skillet (nonstick or lined with foil) over medium-high heat and lay in the garlic and tomatillos (cut side down). When the tomatillos are well browned and soft, 5 to 6 minutes, flip everything over and brown the other side. (The garlic should be soft.) Cool, then peel the garlic.
  2. In a blender, combine the peeled garlic, tomatillos, stemmed chipotles and 2 cups water. Blend to a coarse puree. (I used a Vitamix.)
  3. Scoop the butternut pieces into a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes. (I used a silicone steaming lid instead of plastic wrap.)
  4. Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) skillet set over medium, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add the butternut and tomatillo sauce to the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a brisk simmer.
  6. Cook until the butternut is fork-tender and the sauce has reduced by about half its volume, about 20 minutes.
  7. Taste and season with salt (it will need only about 1/2 teaspoon because of the bacon’s saltiness).
  8. Using a tortilla warmer, or a plate covered with plastic wrap, cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel. Warm the corn tortillas in a microwave for 1 minute.
  9. Top each tortilla with a generous sprinkling of arugula or watercress. Scoop the hot topping over the top and finish with a  sprinkling of the goat cheese.

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If you like this you may also like:

Vegetable Strudel Casserole

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I tend to make dishes with a similar theme or flavor-profile. This dish sounded original and different- outside of the box for me. Then Nancy of Feasting with Friends Blog posted a Veggie Strudel on the same day I was making this one! So, I suppose this dish isn’t that original…. but it was tasty. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen. I modified the recipe by baking it as a casserole instead of in individual pieces- seemed much neater that way! I also modified it by increasing the mushrooms, onions, and scallions, using cauliflower instead of broccoli, and by adding green beans. I also sprayed each layer of phyllo dough with canola oil spray instead of brushing with olive oil; I did brush the top layer with olive oil prior to baking. Very nice.

  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 2 yellow onions, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped cauliflower or broccoli (about a generous quarter of a large head)
  • 1 cup trimmed and chopped green beans, optional
  • 10 oz button mushrooms, minced
  • 1 to 2 tsp coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T minced fresh dill
  • 7 scallions, greens and whites, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs, separated
  • canola oil cooking spray
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound phyllo dough leaves, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (convection). Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking pan. (I use an enameled cast iron pan.)
  2. Make the Filling: Melt the butter in a Dutch oven. Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrot, cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, and 1 tsp salt. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring intermittently, until the vegetables are just tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the caraway, garlic, lemon juice, dill, scallions, pepper, cheese, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Remove half of the phyllo dough leaves from the package and sandwich between two pieces of plastic wrap. Cover with a damp towel.
  5. Lay one sheet of phyllo in the oiled baking pan and lightly spray with canola oil or lightly brush with olive oil. Continue layering the sheets of dough, adding oil between each layer, until 1/2 pound of dough (1/2 package) is used.
  6. Sprinkle the stack of phyllo with the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.
  7. Add the filling, spreading it to within 1/2 inch of the edges.
  8. Layer more phyllo dough over the filling, spraying or brushing each layer with oil. Use the entire box. Brush olive oil over the top layer.

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One Year Ago:

Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup

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I have been desperate to use Harissa. I am not sure if that one ingredient made this soup so delicious…. but it was the best butternut squash soup I have ever made or eaten. The recipe calls for an aged goat cheese but the author also suggested using Gouda if the other was unavailable. I used a goat milk Gouda cheese (perfect!); the cheese gave the soup an amazing flavor but was not overpowering. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Paula Wolfert. We ate it with popovers and green salad. YUM!

For the La Kama Spice Blend: (use extra on roasted vegetables)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cubeb pepper (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the Soup:

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 pounds butternut, kabocha or calabaza squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 1/4 pound aged goat cheese, shredded (I used goat milk Gouda)
  • Harissa
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the Spice Blend: In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Store in an airtight container.
  2. In a large, heavy pot, toss the onion with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the squash, cover with a round of parchment paper and the lid and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of the spice blend and the water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, 20 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (I use an immersion blender in the pot.); add the crème fraîche, three-fourths of the cheese and 1 teaspoon of harissa to the last batch. Return all of the soup to the pot and season with salt and black pepper. Serve the soup, passing the remaining cheese and more harissa at the table.

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