Monday, January 9, 2012

Chicken butternut squash stew (with quinoa)

My first new recipe of the year sounded so delicious and I was so excited about it. The look on Hans' face, both before and after, was less than enthusiastic. Whatever. I liked it... for the most part.
Adapted (only slightly) from Cookin' Canuck

What you need:

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (I suggest tenders, see below)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa, soaked and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fill a small bowl with water and add your uncooked quinoa. I haven't done this in the past and was really put off by the bitter taste of the quinoa. I let it soak this time while I did the next two steps and it greatly improved the flavor.
Peel the squash and chop into 1/2 inch cubes (removing seeds). I hear costco has pre-peeled and chopped butternut squash - that would certainly cut the prep time in half.

Steam the squash for about ten minutes. Remove about half the cubes to a bowl. Continue steaming the other half another 4-6 minutes. Remove them to a different bowl and mash up with a fork.

At the same time, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add in the chicken. Now, the original recipe calls for thighs. I discovered, after using thighs, that I don't like them. They felt slimy and gross and too fatty. I didn't like this recipe nearly as much as I thought I would and I think it was because of the chicken. I'd suggest using tenderloins because there'd be less cutting and less fat. Breasts might work, if you cut them into smaller pieces first. I'd also like to try this recipe with those pre-roasted chickens you can get at HEB. That would also cut the prep time down considerably and would probably be pretty tasty.

Anyway, if you're cooking your own chicken, boil (covered) until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks. Remove the broth to a bowl until later.

Return the pot to the stove, add olive oil, and cook onion on med-high until turning brown. Add in garlic and spices and cook until fragrant (doesn't take long!) Add in tomatoes and both the cubed and mashed squash.
Finally, add the broth and the drained quinoa. Simmer the whole thing for about 15 minutes. Then add the chicken and simmer a little bit longer.Then eat!

Makes enough for a small army. You could probably freeze half of it for a later date. I really liked it for dinner that night - loved that after a long run on a cold night, it was a warm, protein and fiber packed meal low in calories in fat. I did NOT, however, like it when I took it for leftovers for lunch the next day. I really blame the meat. I'll make it again and try with pre-cooked chicken. But if you're looking for something healthy and filling, this might be your dish.

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