This week’s casserole had all the important “B” foods for a hearty winter casserole — barley, butternut and bacon.

I’ve had my eye on this Better Homes and Garden casserole since summer, but I couldn’t make a dish with butternut squash in July. First, they’re not available; second, squash is a fall-winter food.

I especially enjoyed this casserole because I can make it a one-pot meal in a Dutch oven. The casserole can be chilled 2 to 24 hours before baking, but I opted to bake it right away.

Butternut-Barley Casserole

1 package (8 ounces) bacon, or about 8 slices

2 medium onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

4 ½ cups chicken broth

½ cup white wine

1 ½ cup barley

4 cup peeled butternut squash, chopped into ½-inch pieces

¼ cup fresh sage, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. In large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon; drain on paper towels. Reserve bacon grease in pot, and cook onions, celery and sweet pepper over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add broth and wine; bring to boiling. Stir in barley; return to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 25 minutes. Stir in squash and cook 20 minutes until squash and barley are mostly tender and most liquid is absorbed.

Crumble bacon into pot. Add sage and salt and pepper; stir until well mixed. Refrigerate mixture now, if desired. Otherwise, cover Dutch oven and bake 45 to 55 minutes. Stir; let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

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Political Reporter

Political reporter at the Courier

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