notes from the mexican kitchen
Mexican Weekend/

Let’s All Fall for Butternut with Bacon, Tomatillo and Chipotle

Mexican_lightblueLogo_POST_170x177-copyDeep breaths, everyone. It’s probably time to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner.

What will you bring to the table? Allow me to make a special seasonal suggestion.

This tangy, sweet-and-smoky, soul-satisfying butternut braise is remarkably easy to make but special enough for a nice weekend gatherings, and yes, it’s the perfect (if unexpected) Thanksgiving side dish.

And it’s comfortable in a variety of roles, from support for a grilled pork chop or chicken breast, or as a nice light dinner accompanied by a side salad and a few slices of goat cheese or cheddar cheese.

Note: Though this is sweet, creamy and delicious with butternut, it’s also great made with pumpkin (especially pie pumpkin), red kuri, kabocha, dumpling, acorn or delicata squash; you’ll need about 3 cups of peeled cubes.

Not in the bacon-makes-everything-better crowd? This dish is very good without it.

Calabaza Enchipotlada
Servings: 2to 3 as a main course, 4 to 6 as a salad



Set a large (10-inch) skillet (nonstick or lined with foil) over medium-high heat and lay in the garlic and tomatillos (cut side down). When the tomatillos are well browned and soft, 5 to 6 minutes, flip everything over and brown the other side. (The garlic should be soft.) Cool, then peel the garlic.

In a blender, combine the garlic, tomatillos, chipotles and 1 cup water. Blend to a coarse puree.

Scoop the butternut pieces into a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large (10-inch) skillet set over medium, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the butternut and tomatillo sauce to the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a brisk simmer. Cook until the butternut is fork-tender and the sauce has reduced by about half its volume, about 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt (it will need only about ¼ teaspoon because of the bacon’s saltiness). Scrape into a serving bowl and finish with a generous sprinkling of the queso.


  1. Hi there! Just one of probably a million fans who watch Rick’s shows on CREATE/PBS. Tonight he was making lamb Barbacoa in his slow cooker; would you please tell me which brand he uses as well as the maker of his rice cooker? Sure would appreciate it and in the meantime “Gracias and Arriba con Rick”!!!! Frank Hidalgo

    1. Here is the recipe for the Lamb Barbacoa and his brands used are listed in the comments below. As far as the rice cooker – the brand we use in the test kitchen is a Sanyo. Enjoy!

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