Brrrr…it’s officially fall over here in Oklahoma which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This weekend we cleaned up the garden and tilled the valuable compost bin matter into the beds. I had separated garlic cloves to plant but never quite got to it.
Oh for more time in a day!
As I get older, I realize just how much I cannot deviate from our Thanksgiving traditional dishes. I would be strung up if I didn’t have all the usuals, like Sweet Potato Crunch and Green Bean Casserole, but shhhhh…..can I share with you that I am kind of overcasseroles and all the cream of soup dishes that I long ago loved?
I much prefer a giant pan of roasted root vegetables over casseroles these days, as does my hips and thights, so I have been letting the kids make their favorites and I’ve branched out over the years to trying some new things.
This appetizer is sure to please anyone who is standing around waiting for the turkey timer to chime. It marries together flavors like the sweetness of butternut squash and maple, the salty smokiness of bacon and chipotle pepper, and the tang of dried cranberries and it all comes along with the satisfying crunch of baked puff pastry.
Prep the separate ingredients days ahead and assemble and bake these just before your Thanksgiving gathering and everyone will be happy and mighty, mighty thankful!
Autumn Butternut Mini Tarts
1 package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets, thawed
1 egg, beaten
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 medium butternut squash, cubed (about 4 cups)
2 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1 t. chipotle pepper powder
2/3 c. dried cranberries
1 c. grated fontina cheese
1/4 c. chopped pistachios
Optional: 1/4 c. pomegranate arils
Preheat oven to 400º
Unroll puff pastry until flat and cut into 2-inch squares and place on parchment lined baking sheets (or Silpat lined)
Using a small paring knife, cut a square inside of each puff pastry square about 1/4 inch in from edge. When puff pastry bakes, this will form the center of the tart.
Brush egg over each puff pastry square
Bake for 20-25 minutes in oven until golden brown.
Remove and retrace the cuts on the squares and pop out center of tarts.
Cook bacon until crisp and crumble in a bowl (I bake the bacon on a separate lined baking sheet and put in with the tart shells for 20 minutes. It’s perfect!)
Cube butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes
Add olive oil to skillet, sprinkle salt over squash and toss and saute squash over medium-high heat until fork tender, about 20 minutes
Add dried cranberries and bacon into squash in pan after squash is fork tender
Mix together maple syrup and chipotle powder and add to squash/cranberry/bacon mixture.
Stir often, letting squash caramelize in the syrup, about 3 minutes.
Grate Fontina into a a bowl
Add about 1-2 t. fontina shreds into center of each square
Add about 1 T. of butternut/cranberry mixture on top of cheese (which will melt the cheese underneath)
Sprinkle with pistachios and pomegranate arils if desired.