The best things in life often happen when you are looking for something else entirely… and this smoky “cheese” spread made from kabocha squash, bacon, and a few other key ingredients is a deliciously great example of that!
Believe it or not, I was actually going for soup when I started out and almost burned out the motor on my blender trying to force it to happen, until I realized that the thick and sticky concoction I’d created by accident tasted really good as it was, spread on a gluten-free cracker or as a dip for some celery sticks or other vegetables. In fact, with a sprinkle of bacon on top it reminded me quite a bit of the “bacon and ranch cheese ball” I’d made (and loved!) for many New Year’s parties years ago, before I realized that the ingredients in it were making me sick.
So, I gave up the idea of soup and instead refined the recipe to present it to you at the end of the year as the final entry into my trilogy of brand new, 100% AIP-compliant party food recipes!
I had a hard time figuring out what to call this kabocha squash recipe, but I know it reminds me of party cheese spreads, all loaded up with bacon and caramelized onions and other flavors, so I’m going with that. It’s “cheese” for those of us who can’t have the real thing! ENJOY!
1 large kabocha squash (3+ pounds)
1 medium onion (about 1 cup when minced)
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh or dried chives
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Though the green outer skin of a kabocha squash is edible, for this recipe you want only the bright orange flesh. You can peel the squash first while it is raw and then roast or cook the kabocha squash chunks whatever way you like, or roast it whole as described in this recipe and then scoop out the flesh after it is roasted. I chose the latter method, but either will work.
Chop the onion into a small, even mince and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low heat, watching carefully and turning as needed to avoid burning. When crisped, remove bacon and set aside, leave rendered bacon fat in the pan.
Over medium-low heat, cook the onions in the bacon fat until they are completely soft and caramelized. You will want to watch this closely to make sure they don’t burn, perhaps stirring the entire time. It may take up to 10 minutes.
Place the cooked squash in a blender or food processor and pulse or blend enough to make it smooth. Add the onions and bacon fat, along with the thyme, chives, and lemon juice. Pulse a few times to combine. Or if the squash is very thick, it may be easier to mix these in by hand. Taste and add salt as desired.
Transfer the squash mixture to a serving dish.
Chop the reserved bacon from step 3 and sprinkle on top before serving.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:1 hour
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