Multia is a Mexican dish and kind of like a quesadilla. Instead of flour tortilla, mulita is made with 2 corn tortillas. One on top and one at the bottom. Savory filling and cheese are stuffed in between. These Kabocha Squash and Bacon Mulitas are definitely not traditional! They are filled with sweet squash puree, caramelized onion, bacon, mozzarella cheese and cotija cheese. Layers of flavors and great balance of sweet and savory!
The past weekend was one of the busiest weekends we had. One wedding and one engagement party. Phew, we did it! Even though we both don’t like socializing with strangers too much (we’re both introverts), we are very glad to witness the happy and significant moments for the couples.
Another exciting thing was the food (we’re totally foodies)! Because millennials adore food so much, wedding is no longer associated with bad food. Last year, we had cedar plank salmon in one of our best friend’s wedding. It was buffet style, but the salmon was moist and still warm. Sooo good! The past weekend wedding was catered by Bites & Bashes. Everything was simply spot-on! The hors d’oeuvres themselves were not ordinary. Japchae (Korean sweet potato noodles), pork dumplings, butternut squash quesadillas, Thai curry with shrimps and a couple more that I can’t remember. Great varieties and flavors! Dinner buffet was more traditional, like beef sliders, chicken tenders, potato salad, watermelon salad, and roasted brussel sprouts, but food was still delicious. At the dessert bar there were hot churros, cheesecake bites and lemon bars. The churros tasted just like Disneyland. Fresh and hot! We were very satisfied. If you live in Los Angeles and need a catering company, you must check out Bites & Bashes! You know they are good when they catered Eater editor, Matthew Kang‘s wedding.
This recipe is inspired by the butternut squash quesadillas hors d’oeuvre. When we heard the name of the dish, we never expected that we would like it. That was sweet, but savory and cheesy at the same time. I love it so much that I decided to recreate at home.
Instead of using butternut squash, I saw kabocha. Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin. It is much smaller than a regular pumpkin. It has dark green skin with orange flesh. It’s sweeter than butternut squash and regular pumpkin. When you eat Japanese tempura, there is always at least 1 piece of kabocha tempura. The squash can be found in most Asian supermarkets and some high-end grocery stores. I was lucky to find one at Whole Foods.
Mulita is a Mexican dish. It’s like a quesadilla, but uses 2 corn tortillas instead. One on top and one at the bottom. In between, it is stuffed with cheese, meat and other savory filling. In my opinion, multias are better than quesadillas because of the much more flavorful corn tortillas. However, mulitas are not very common, not every Mexican restaurants make them. It’s ok because they are very easy to make at home.
To ensure these kabocha mulitas are packed with flavors, there are a few components to the dish. First, kabocha squash puree. Cut the squash into cubes and roasted until tender. Then blend into puree with chicken broth and little bacon fat. Second, caramelized onions. Cook the onion slow on medium-low heat with butter for a good 40-minute, until golden brown, soft and sweet. Third, bacon bits. Cut the bacon into very thin strips and cook until crisp. Last but not least, cheeses! A melted and gooey mozzarella cheese is perfect, and not to forget the cortija cheese (Mexican cheese). It’s a hard cheese that is salty and savory. This is what balanced all the sweetness from the squash and onion. Put them all together in the tortillas and cook until everything is warmed and cheese is melted. Sweet, salty, cheesy and buttery. Hmm… All those flavors… Serve them with a side of chip and salsa. You have yourself a wonderful meal!
Kabocha Squash and Bacon Mulitas
- 1 medium kabocha squash or butternut squash (about 3½ pounds)
- 1 large red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 slices bacon (cut into ¼-inch small strips)
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- 1½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces cortija cheese (crumbled into small pieces)
- ground black pepper
- olive oil
- vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To cut the squash, use a sharp knife to cut in half. If it is too tough, put in the microwave for 3 – 4 minutes until the squash is just soft enough to cut through. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut off the skin and cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes.
- Transfer the squash cubes to the prepared baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Combine well. Spread the squash in a single layer evenly. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until soften. Remove from oven to cool for 10 – 15 minutes.
- In a large pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add onion and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt. Reduce to medium-low heat, cook for about 35 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a small bowl.
- In a medium pan, add the bacon pieces. Turn on the heat to medium. Cook until deep brown and crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve bacon fat.
- Transfer the squash to a food processor or blender, add 1/3 cup chicken broth and 1½ teaspoon bacon fat. Blend until smooth. If the puree is too thick, add more broth. If needed, adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper. Transfer the puree to a small bowl.
- To assemble, place a tortilla on a working surface. Spread a thin layer (about 1/8-inch) of squash puree evenly on the tortilla. Layer with a little caramelized onion, bacon bits, 1-tablespoon of cortija cheese and a handful of mozzarella cheese. Cover with another tortilla. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
- Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1½ tablespoons of the vegetable oil (or reserved bacon fat), then add 2 of the mulitas and cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown and crisp on the outside and the cheese has melted. Repeat with the rest of the mulitas. Transfer to serving plates. Serve immediately.
- Kabocha squash is available in Asian supermarkets. Since they are much more common these days, you maybe able to get them in regular grocery store. If you really can’t find one, use butternut squash.
- You can of course use flour tortillas and turn them into quesadilla, but I love the flavors of corn tortillas a lot more.
- Cortija cheese should be easy to find in most grocery store.
- Leftover squash puree can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for other uses, like as a side dish with meat or ravioli filling.