I love breakfast, nay, I worship breakfast time. In my family we always took the time to eat breakfast in the morning, even if that meant getting up earlier than most people would before heading off to work or school. I’ve never been a breakfast-on-the-go kind of person. What’s the pleasure in eating a cold muffin walking down the street while balancing a to-go cup of coffee in the other hand, all the while crumbs are sticking to your face and falling all over your clothes, your cellphone rings, you go in your bag to reach for it and in that fateful moment, you DROP your sad excuse for a breakfast on the sidewalk… I won’t venture to guess whether you crawl to your knees to pick it up or not, what happens after that is between every man and his conscience. Either way, no thanks. And I never understood people who never ate breakfast. Why skip that blissful moment when you’re still waking up, birds are chirping outside (or rain is pouring – does it matter what’s happening outside?), you’re sipping on a warm cup of coffee and you sit down to a plate of hearty morning goodness. Yes please!
My morning ritual is a huge mug of coffee and some kind of warm breakfast cereal or eggs and veggies. Sometimes followed by another cup of coffee. And then there are days of instant genius inspiration when I open my fridge and decide to mix things up a bit, like the other day when I saw I had some leftover roasted Kabocha squash and some bacon, and a lightbulb literally burst in flames inside my head. Squash + bacon + eggs + that coconut milk in the back of the fridge + some kind of spice + flax meal = the most comforting and delicious breakfast I could ask for on such a cold day (yes while most of you are laying in your bikinis in the sweltering August heat, it’s winter here in big old São Paulo – which also explains why I’m getting my hands on some very in-season winter squash every week. Hip hip hurray for that).
And comforting and delicious it was. Every time I closed on a piece of pancake that had a bacon bit in it, the disco ball in my mouth would turn on and my taste buds would have a celebration. I don’t know if that conveys enough the scrumptiousness of this recipe? The curry works wonderfully with the hearty combination of squash and bacon, and the caramelized onion topping, albeit optional… well, should not be an option if you ask me. I just wrote down optional for the more lazy people who don’t feel like caramelizing an onion. In fact I’m thinking of re-doing this with an onion chutney alternative, that’s how well the topping did it’s job. Sometimes you have toppings that let you down, but this one – hands down – gets the gold medal in the toppings Olympics. Ok, I’m going to stop talking now.
Recipe: Curried Butternut Squash and Bacon Pancakes
Makes 8 pancakes
2/3 cup (300g) of winter squash (Kabocha, butternut, acorn…), roasted and mashed
1/4 cup (25g) of ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup (60ml) of coconut milk
8 strips of bacon, chopped into bits (or about 60g of bacon bits)
1 tsp of curry
1/2 tsp of salt
Olive oil or coconut oil for cooking
Optional: 1 onion + 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, for caramelized onion topping
1. Roast the squash in the oven for 30 minutes at 400°F (200°C) – you can do this in advance and store in the fridge. Peel the skin or carve out the flesh. Mash and set aside 3/4 cup for the pancakes.
2. Optional: cut the onion in half and finely chop cross-wise. Heat some olive oil or coconut oil in a pan and cook the onion for approximately 10 minutes, until soft and lightly caramelized. Add in the balsamic vinegar and cook for 2-3 more minutes, then set aside. This is your brilliant topping.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and the coconut milk. Add the flaxmeal and progressively incorporate the mashed squash until the batter is pasty and thick. It doesn’t matter if there are small lumps of squash left. Add in the curry and salt.
4. In a pan, fry the bacon. Remove from the pan, chop into little bits and add to the pancake batter, but do not discard the bacon grease.
5. In the same pan where you cooked your bacon, pour 2-3 tbsp of batter and flatten out with the back of a spoon to form a round 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick pancake. Let cook for approx. 5 minutes on one side (until the edges start to brown and little bubbles start to form in the batter), then flip over and let cook for 4-5 more minutes. If working in batches, add a little coconut oil or olive oil in between batches to avoid sticking.