Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Cassoulet

I am trying to put more healthy, good-for-you-meals into our daily eating. It took a couple of hours to find the one I am posting. I love to read through old cookery books when I am in the mood, and this day I was in the mood for cooking. A word of warning, if you don’t like beans feel free to move on, this dish is not for you.

You can assemble everything the day before and then pop it into the oven to bake on the day you serve it. I measure, chop and prepare everything before I start, and have it all in front of me to put into the pot so that it takes all the thinking out of it. This is a big help when you want to smooth things along. I started preparations first thing this morning and refrigerated it by noon. All I had to do was take it out of the fridge and throw it into the oven this evening. If I had thought about it I would have prepared it the day before and made today even easier.
I usually buy a whole butternut squash but I nicked one of the tips of my fingers two days ago. When you suddenly decide to buy a professional set of cooking knives for the first time in 33 years you have to remember they are sharper than you are used to. This isn't the first time I have done it and you would think something would have sunk in by now, but I was chatting to son-one-and-only the other day when preparing another meal, and as I looked in his direction while slicing through a vegetable I looked up and well, need I say more?

It’s not a bad cut and after I had tended to it I reached for the first band-aid I laid my hands on. I bought these on a whim long before my chick flew the nest. Look at that lovely Batman band-aid. Isn’t it spiffy? I didn’t want to tempt fate and try to cut up a whole butternut squash and instead decided to buy the already cut-up-for-convenience package when I was at the store. Gregg asked me to take this photo of him when leaving our local supermarket, to remember the place when he finally retires and we move on to other pastures. We are slowly documenting photographically everything in our area. I have to add that retirement is still a few years down the road.
Now where were we? The bears were a big help putting everything together.

Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Cassoulet

1 whole garlic head
4 ounces Pancetta, chopped (you can substitute regular smoked bacon but use less as the smoky taste would be a lot stronger)
2 cups vertically sliced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4-1/2 cups (1/2 inch) cubed and peeled butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 (16 ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf

2 (1 ounce) slices white bread
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove white, paper skin from garlic head but don’t peel or separate cloves. Wrap it in foil and bake for one hour and then cool for ten minutes.

This is what mine looked like after I took it out of the oven.

Separate into cloves and squeeze each clove to get the pulp out. Use only half the head of garlic, put the other aside to use in other recipe. Discard skins.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté 5 minutes or until crisp.

I'm afraid I was a little lax in photographing my other steps. I think I must have gotten carried along with the momentum.

Remove pancetta and set aside but leave drippings in pan. Add onion and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to drippings, sauté 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cook 25 minutes or until onion is very tender and browned. Stir in vinegar.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add garlic pulp, pancetta, squash and next six ingredients to the onion mixture, stirring well. Place bread in a food processor or blender and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure about one cup. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and ½ teaspoon oil, sprinkle evenly over squash mixture. Cover and bake 375 degrees F. for 50 minutes, or until squash is tender. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until topping is browned. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves: 6 people (each serving size is 1-3/4 cups)
There are 259 calories per serving.

I forgot to sprinkle with parsley, oh well. Next time!

Will we make this again? Most definitely, it was delicious and we both enjoyed it. An actual honest-to-goodness, good-for-you recipe we want to make again. I think next time I will try a green salad, or maybe some asparagus. We will be eating leftovers in a couple of days. If there is any left after that I will try freezing it. It does seem to make quite a big pot.


  1. Yum! I didn't know you could buy squash already cut up. (I don't do the shopping for this household.) I hate cutting up winter squash. What a great thing to know!

  2. That looks really good. And about the band aid: we have "Nascar" ones, that are fun to wear on occasion.

  3. I wondered what that wonderful smell was! Aloha-

  4. This sounds delicious. I wish I was somewhere where I could make this. Great blog, I've enjoyed reading through and am looking forward to coming back.

  5. Funny, my husband came in and sharpened two of my knives a few weeks back and I sliced myself good one! That recipe looks good and I need to go back over it. I never did that with the garlic whole. Looks good- I love squash too!
    I noticed the band-aids have more tape than padding these days- goodness!
    My husband just told me tonight "we have to back up all of our vids/photos so we can look at them when we get older! Isn't that a kick!! I says, ya honey!! I mean we do from time to time but they can be lost.
    Thanks for the recipe. I've been thinking of posting some recipes and a bit of the garden thing..not sure if I should set up a separate site??

  6. Looks and sounds yummy - I certainly will try this dish! Thanks for sharing. Cheers

  7. Hi Denise,
    Gregg needs to be aware that when he reaches retirement, pushing a supermarket trolly becomes an occupational hazard or way of life even, so he better get use to it. {:)

  8. Dear Denise! What a shame that you hurt yourself by new knives! I hope your finger is okay now.
    I need to confess that I`m not good cooker but certainly I will try this hint from you!
    Congratulations! ;-)

  9. That is one nifty band-aid. ;)
    Your recipes always look and sound so good and I think I'll try them, but I guess I just have to face that I'm too lazy to cook these days.

  10. That really does look good. I think I will make it without the bacon to make it vegetarian.
    Thanks for a great dinner idea.

  11. Ouch, ouch, ouch, yummy, yummy, yummy!!!

  12. This sounds and looks really yummy. I know your family loved you for it.

  13. You should have a Robin band-aid for the other hand.

    Thanks for dropping by at my place!

  14. Yum Yum I just happen to have a butternut pumpkin, now I know what to do with it.Thanks.