tomorrow i go home to eggboy, the autumn, and probably a bunch of leftover containers that are still in the fridge from before i left two weeks ago. i am so gosh darn excited for two of those things! and to eggboy's credit, there are a zillion experiments in our fridges, some of them intentional and some of them unintentional, which i sometimes actually need for recipe development purposes so he's become trained not to throw anything away without explicit instructions. (like, have i told you that the clown cone, sprinkle cake, and cookie salad from molly on the range are still in my freezer because i was paranoid i'd lose all of my photos and would have to reshoot everything?)
so what's currently in our fridge is likely a bunch of butternut squash dishes. we got so much squash from our garden this year that i went wild with my cookbooks and cooked up a squash storm every day before i left. two of my favorite dishes were anna's butternut and cannellini gratin and claire ptak's squash cobbler. anna's dish is less creamy than a typical gratin, it's more like a hearty vegetable soup, and claire's dish opened up a world of savory cobblers to me. i couldn't get them out of my brain so eventually i combined them, added apples from our apple trees, and called it a hotdish like the lady of the north that i am. it pretty much follows the hotdish equation:
meat* + vegetables** + creamed soup*** + a starch****
**squash and onions
***okay, even though there's soup in here it isn't creamy but there's cheese on top so that's some good heavy dairy that counts for something?
****flakey buttery biscuits!
the base has the lightness of anna's dish, but the biscuits add some oomph that make it a good special occasion meal or sunday supper. i had chantell and brett over from fargo to enjoy it on a crisp fall morning the other day. we wandered around the farm, collecting squash from the garden, apples from our trees, and eggs from macaroni for the biscuit egg wash, and i wore my new fall fashions from old navy. you guys i'm so excited to be partnering with old navy again because you know how i won't shut up about how my current favorite aesthetic is naptime-chic? (as in garments that double as blankets so that no matter where you are, you are always as cozy as you'd want to be for a nap? think huge scarves and piles of soft layers.) old navy has all of that right now. blankety scarves, shirts that are comfy enough to be pajamas but nice enough to wear when guests are over, and that red and black lumbersexual number pictured above that's soft like a robe. and of course i like layering on all of my tops over their jeggings, aka yoga-pants-disguised-as-jeans, aka good apple tree shimmying pants.
the whole situation is as cozy as a nice hot bowl of this butternut hotdish so i'm hoping this post is encouraging you to be cozy both inside and out.
butternut, bacon, and apple hotdish
1 lb thick cut bacon
2 large purple onions, thinly sliced
2 lb squash, seeded, peeled, and chopped into 1/2” cubes
leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme
crushed red pepper
2 large apples, chopped into 1/2” cubes
1/4 c white wine
1 c vegetable broth
for the biscuits:
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
14 tb unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 c heavy cream
1 large egg
preheat oven to 425ºf.
in a large skillet or pot, crisp the bacon. Transfer it to a paper towel. drain off most of the fat from the pan, you’ll want a thin coating to remain, add the onions and cook over medium high for 10 minutes, until soft. add the squash, thyme, a few turns of pepper and a few pinches of crushed red pepper and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the wine and broth. give the bacon a rough chop and add it to the pan along with the apples. bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, while you make the biscuits.
to make the biscuits, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. add the butter and, using a food processor or pastry cutter or your hands, incorporate the butter until the mixture is the consistency of oatmeal. mix in the cream until the mixture comes together to form a dough. turn it out onto a floured work surface, pat it out to 3/4” thick and then cut out round biscuits, re-rolling scraps as needed.
(note: you can also use torn crusty bread as the topping for your hotdish. i like this as a lower maintenance weekday option.)
pour the squash mixture into an oven-safe vessel such as a casserole dish or cast iron pan or dutch oven and then top it with the biscuits. brush the biscuits with the beaten egg and top with black pepper and grated cheese, if desired. bake until the biscuits are golden brown, begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. enjoy!
all photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!