Smoke-roasted Butternut Squash Casserole

What would a holiday table be without a casserole? This dish is not only incredibly flavorful, but it looks beautiful. It is filled with butternut squash that has been smoke-roasted before joining the other ingredients. With all that smoky goodness, plus bacon and cheese, how could it not be a hit?

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 6 to 8
Image of Smoke-roasted Butternut Squash Casserole

  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine grey sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 pound bacon, cut into batons
  • 2 ounces pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to grease the skillet
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 8 ounces Campo de Montalban cheese (or Manchego), shredded
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups croutons (we recommend using the homemade croutons from the Rolled, Stuffed Turkey Breast recipe)
  • ½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 10-inch cast iron skillet
  • Flaky finishing salt, such as Maldon

Prepare the grill for indirect roasting at 350°F with strong wood smoke. If using a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill and smoker pellet insert, the technique is as follows:

  • Remove a grill grate from the center of the grill. Place a single pellet insert in the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer toward the center of the grill. Fill with the premium wood pellets of your choice. Pecan pellets work well for this recipe.
  • Preheat the grill with the ignition burner on LOW and a single main burner on MEDIUM. Make sure the active main burner is not below or adjacent to the pellet insert. Allow the grill to settle at 350°F for about 15 minutes, adjusting the burners as needed.
  • Light the front of the row of wood pellets using a torch or paraffin cube. Once thoroughly started, blow out the fire so that the pellets continue to smolder on their own, but do not maintain an open flame.
  • Replace the grill grate above the pellets. The squash will be roasted directly above the pellets for maximum smoke.

Toss the squash pieces in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place in a single layer on a wire cooling rack. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place in the indirect zone of the grill, close the hood, and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, rotating the rack once halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the grill and reserve.

Smoke roasted butternut squash

Cook the bacon to medium doneness, drain and reserve.

Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Reserve.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in buttermilk. Fold in the squash, bacon, onions, Campo de Montalban, parsley and croutons.

Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Transfer the mixture into the skillet and place the skillet into the indirect zone of the grill at the same 350°F used to roast the squash. You no longer need smoke, but it doesn’t hurt. Roast for 40 minutes with the grill hood closed, turning once. Top with the Pecorino, and roast 10 minutes more (with the hood closed again).

Finish with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt and serve hot.