I first made this dish as a way to include a different vegetarian dish at a party. It was a hit!! It will make a delicious and savory side dish for your Thanksgiving meal, and this casserole makes a filling choice for the vegetarians at your holiday celebration.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHEDDAR GRATIN
¼ cup panko or coarse dry bread crumbs
1 ¾ cups (7 oz.) shredded Tillamook Medium Cheddar, divided
1 Tablespoon Tillamook Butter
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 cups thinly sliced onion
1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 cups (approx. 2 ½ pounds) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½” cubes
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
Heat oven to 350. Lightly butter a 2 quart baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, ¾ cup cheese and melted butter. Set aside.
In medium frying pan heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, ½ tsp. salt, thyme and pepper. Cook about 15 minutes until onions are lightly browned and slightly caramelized. Stir in garlic and cook another minute, until garlic is fragrant. Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish. Set aside pan for later use.
In a large bowl toss squash with flour to evenly coat. Stir in remaining salt, parsley and remaining cup of cheese. Spread squash mixture evenly over onions.
Set frying pan over low heat and add chicken stock to deglaze, scraping bits from bottom of pan. Pour over squash mixture.
Cover with lightly buttered foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with bread crumb and cheese mixture and bake an additional 25 minutes, until bubbly and top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Photo: CanalBlog/Creative Commons