John and I spent the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday in an unusually quiet fashion last year due to COVID-19. I still cooked the full dinner, because to me the Thanksgiving meal is about sharing love & gratitude, and I wasn’t going to let the coronavirus get in the way of that. We pivoted from our usual celebration and made doorstep deliveries of all the bountiful fixings. There were a few tears, a multitude of air hugs and kisses blown from a distance, and then we made our way back home on eerily quiet highways to a dining table set for two, instead of 20. This year we will be wading gently back into the hosting pool. We are having a small gathering and we’ll be taking safety precautions, because as we know, the pandemic is not over yet.
I’ve got many tried and true Thanksgiving recipes in my file, dishes that have made their expected appearance on the table, year after year. 2021 seems like a marvelous time to set the stage for the addition of some fresh arrivals. I’ve been writing and testing a few “new to me” dishes this week and will be sharing some of them in the upcoming days. The first of these is Delicata squash with maple syrup and bacon served on a bed of arugula and topped with herbed goat cheese. Read on for the recipe.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Bacon, Maple Syrup and Goat Cheese
2 medium size delicata squash, washed but not peeled. Halved lengthwise, scraped and seeded and sliced into 1/2 inch half-moon slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 slices of applewood smoked bacon, sliced into one inch pieces
3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (I used a local syrup from Jirik Family Farms)
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper for seasoning
Large handful of fresh arugula
Two ounces of garlic and herb goat cheese, crumbled (I used goat cheese from the La Clare Family Creamery in WI)
Optional addition: chopped candied pecans
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
- Toss squash slices in a medium size bowl with olive oil then lay them onto a parchment lined baking sheet and brush both sides with maple syrup. Scatter bacon pieces over and around the squash. Season with Salt and Pepper.
- Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes (turn halfway through) until squash is slightly caramelized, fork tender and the bacon is crispy.
- Plate arugula. Top with with the squash and bacon and crumbled garlic and herb goat cheese.
Optional additions: Top with chopped candied pecans and drizzle with a little remaining maple syrup before serving if desired.
I’m adding a bonus activity to this recipe. Test your knowledge of squash! This is from my new book Eat Your Words: 125 Food & Beverage Themed Puzzles for Hungry Minds.
Eat Your Words: Squash Puzzle Clues
- Dimpled, hard flesh. Ranges from green to bright orange. Yields the best flavor when baked or boiled and mashed.
- A winter squash that is sometimes called a Japanese pumpkin. Outer skin is deep green, flesh is orange. Naturally, sweet flavor. Can be used in place of pumpkin or butternut squash.
- Smooth and pale green, with a bottle-gourd shape and hollow interior chambers. Frequently used in Chinese recipes, stir fried dishes s or soups. Exterior is sometimes used to make bowls and maracas.
- A winter squash that is readily available in the midwest. Frequently halved, seeded and baked with butter and brown sugar. Usually weighs from one to three pounds.
- Also called a peanut squash due to its shape. About 6 inches long and green to gold with a striped appearance. Has a creamy pulp that tastes similar to a sweet potato.
Answers at the bottom of the page
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“Farm to Table…Ocean to Fork…and Vineyard to Glass. We cast our votes in favor of the planet one bite, one sip at a time” ~ Lisa Patrin