Apple, Butternut Squash & Pecan Hash


This is my second attempt to beat Nana's Spiced Squash & Apple Soup; the first attempt was an authentic Roman Spiced Squash.  The squash was a failure, maybe because I don't know what it's like to conquer the known world while wearing sandals.  The hash fared better.

The original recipe calls for bacon instead of pecans, but recommends pecans as an alternative to make the dish kosher/vegan/paleo.  The trick is the squash is roasted first, and the onions are carmelized in the pan.  Then you throw everything together in the pan.  I flipped my hash instead of stirring it, and gave it a minute between flips so it wouldn't get soggy.  Add in some breakfast sausage and freshly squeezed orange juice, and you've got yourself a breakfast.

I did, of course, make changes.  Other than the bacon-pecan substitution, I left out the salt and pepper (as usual), and used basil-infused olive oil.  "Did you say basil-infused olive oil?"  Why yes I did.

I was inspired after an olive oil tasting trip through Sonoma Valley.  I didn't write a separate post for the olive oil, although maybe I should.  I took a bottle of the very excellent Trader Joe's olive oil and tore a dozen leaves off my basil plant.  (Yes, of course I have a basil plant.)  I didn't cut or muddle the leaves, I just shoved them whole into the bottle.  After a couple weeks, the flavor is PERFECT.  You can still taste the excellent olive oil, but on top of it are soaring notes of basil, somehow floral and herbal at the same time.  It's fantastic, and added just the right flavor to the hash.  Later I added some 57 Sauce which gave it just the right amount of kick.  It might have been better with the salt & pepper, and the 57 Sauce definitely made it perkier.  But a dish should stand on its own without condiments.
The verdict: good, but not the best use of apples & squash.  I'm afraid to say the soup remains unbeaten.  It's not because the hash isn't good; it is.  It's just that the soup is hard to beat.  I mean, the soup is mind-blowingly good.  We literally have mason jars full of it in our freezer right now.
Don't get me wrong, the hash is excellent.  If someone offered to make it for me, I would gladly accept.  If I saw it on a menu, I'd happily order it.  But if you give me apples and squash, I'm making soup.
(Gratitude to Billy Coye for showing me this excellent recipe.  Billy, try the soup.)