I love fall, I'm sure you get that by now. Everything about it. Everything. Even the days it gets cold and windy. Fall has a feeling...it has distinct smells, unique sights, and, of course, fall has it's own set of flavors. Spicy, earthy, warming...the kinds of flavors that go along with jeans and sweaters. I'm finding that as I get older, my tastes are starting to change with the seasons, so I'm all of a sudden wanting roots and dark greens and apples...it's kind of cool.
So I'm sure you know all about squash--you've heard of it. It's an odd name for a vegetable, isn't it? Squash. I don't think I like it. Not squash itself, just the name.
Squash itself, especially the assortment of winter squash varieties, is great. And there are so many different types--all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors...like before this fall, I think I was only fully aware of butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkins, but there are so many more...
So to expand my squash horizons, the first new variety I have decided to try is called delicata--chosen partly because I liked how it sounded (delicata = fun to say), partly because it was little and striped, but mostly because I read a description of the flavor, and I thought it sounded fabulous. And oh yes, these things are fabulous. Subtly sweet, and kind of buttery, with this unmistakable flavor of roasted sweet corn--sound crazy? It's true. I found out for myself, you should too.
So in an effort to combine some of the best flavors of the season, this is what happened: apples, onions, bacon, and chard met in my pan. There might have been some maple syrup involved...and a little spice. The important thing is simply this--these things are, apparently, wonderful together. So good. And the colors are gorgeous.
I may never have been so proud of something I've created by chance.
Chard and Apples with Bacon
2 slices good, thick-cut bacon, chopped
half an onion
2 apples, cored and chopped (don't peel them)
big pinch of red pepper flakes
1 big bunch of chard, ends trimmed (and ribs removed if you want), chopped
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon good maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
Heat a big skillet over medium-high heat and throw in the bacon. Cook it for a bit, stirring it every once in awhile, till the bacon is reasonably cooked and a good amount of the bacon fat has been rendered. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, and set it aside for later.
In the remaining bacon fat, toss in the chopped onion. Saute for a few minutes, til the onions have softened a bit, and then add the apples and the red pepper flakes. Saute a few minutes more, and add the chard. After it cooks for a minute or so and wilts a little, add the remaining ingredients and stir around to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Make sure you have enough salt and pepper, and enjoy! Goes especially well with squash, but I bet it would be good on rice or some other grain as well...there are so many possibilities.
Roasted Delicata Squash
Preheat the oven to 350
Use a sharp knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds.
Rub the cut sides with softened butter, and sprinkle with salt if you like.
Place on a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes-an hour, cut side up, until the flesh is soft and tender.
Consume as is, or covered with some other delicious creation.
"creativity is discontent translated into art" --Eric Hoffer
I like it.