Sunday, October 07, 2012

Bacon Brown Sugar Squash

I'm not turning the blog into a full fledged "Food Blog", but I loved to cook long before the "Food Channel". My Mom is Chinese and my Dad is Arkansan so it made for an interesting cuisine in our house. My Mom is an intuitive cook, I don't recall anything bad she ever made, including Arkansan food. I learned to cook intuitively from her and rarely measure anything so I usually have to guess at portions when giving a recipe.

My Mom and I lived with my paternal grandparents for a summer while my Dad did sea duty. She learned to cook Arkansan and showed my Grandmother some tricks herself. I recall my Grandmother getting up at 4:30 to start breakfast. Home made biscuits, pork chops, bacon, eggs, pan fried potatoes, white toast made from Rainbow Bread and home made plum and pear preserves. There was always a quart mason jar of bacon grease on the back of the stove that got used to prepare various dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and was replenished each morning. The other staple was a can of Crisco in the cupboard. I don't recall ever seeing a bottle of "oil". My Grandparents both lived well past 80 and probably never touched an ounce of olive or canola oil in their life.

One of my favorite childhood dishes was, and still is, bacon brown sugar yellow squash.

This has converted vegans to bacon drippings and "EWWWWW SQUASH!" kids to vegetables.
It is the perfect blend of vegetable and animal.

So here you go:

4-6 medium yellow crook-neck squash sliced into half-inch discs.
Boil the squash for about 3-4 minutes or until just barely getting tender.
Drain in a collander and let as much water drain out as possible.

Prepare a skillet (I ALWAYS use cast iron to cook). Get it hot (high heat) so a drop of water dances in it. Throw about a tablespoon of bacon grease into the pan (if liquid, if you keep in the refrigerator a slightly mounded teaspoon will do).

Pour the squash into the frying pan and spread it out. Let it fry for a while then flip it over with a spatula. Keep the heat high.

Add some sea salt (a couple sprinkles), about 2 good tablespoons of brown sugar, a teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper and a heaping tablespoon of butter. Stir it up. Keep cooking on high heat.

There will usually be a lot of liquid from the squash. A lot of it will evaporate while cooking. Once the squash is done (soft but not total mush, even though it is still good as squash mush), you can remove the squash and reduce the liquid on high heat (boiling and stirring) until it is syrupy then add the squash back in. You can leave the squash in the pan and just let the liquid boil off but the squash gets cooked more and mushier. Either way, you don't want to pour off the liquid, it has all your flavor in it.

If I leave one "food legacy" to the world, I think this would be the one I'd opt for.


John said...

We cook a dish similar to that with onions. Have you tried it with onions? We don't boil ours first. We must try it with the brown sugar.

s-p said...

John, I've put sweet onions in the squash before too and it does add another layer of flavor. I've also added carmelized onions to it and it is really good. Of course you can add carmelized onions to almost anything (especially mashed potatoes) and it is better for it.

retzev said...

I have a very distinct feeling that this is going to significantly change my life.

s-p said...

retzev, cooking with bacon grease is an art. I'm often tempted to do a bacon grease cookbook. If Jesus hadn't lived under the Old Testament, He'd-a changed water into bacon grease instead of wine. :)

elizabeth said...

:) I got at long last two cast-iron skillets from a dear friend for my wedding and I LOVE them... fun recipe... I love local long-time rooted recipes... :)

retzev said...

I'd like to preorder 1 Bacon Grease Cookbook please. On second thought, I'll buy 3 more for Chriatmas gifts. Better safe than sorry.

Chris Jones said...

Put me on the pre-order list for the Bacon Grease Cookbook too, please.

Chocolatesa said...

This looks so good! I'm glad you're posting recipes more often :D

I recently borrowed a cast-iron frying pan from my mom that she never uses to be able to fry things that require high heat as teflon gives off bad chemicals if you use it for high heat. I'm also planning on getting myself a real wok, one of the cheap ones you find in Chinatown that you have to season and will eventually produce great wok-hai :)

And add me on the pre-order list for the Bacon Grease Cookbook too! I have a small bowl of the stuff in my fridge sitting unused, I was just wondering what I could use it with day before yesterday.

This reminds me of a blog I used to read called "How to Cook Like Your Grandmother", he used a lot of old-fashioned recipes and even had a recipe for bacon grease mayo! Maybe team up with him to produce the cookbook, and title it "How to Cook Like the (Grand) Fathers, (When Not Fasting)"