Chicken & Butternut Squash Stew
This is one of those recipe ideas I feel fortunate to have run across, it’s been around so long I don't even remember where it came from, a magazine perhaps? It has been a keeper and comes to use when the mood feels just right. An easy and hearty dinner for you, or cooking extra for company, the flavor is always superb, and everyone loves it. The "recipe" can be flexible too, it's the combination of chicken, butternut squash and quinoa that lend to the perfect flavor, after that I’ve experimented with adding different veggies on hand. It always turns out to be the comfort food needed on some days.
This is a great recipe to double up on, it’s very easy to prepare twice as much and place some in your freezer containers for one of those days, or in small containers for your lunch throughout the week.
The majority of my recipes are Whole30 and Paleo but I allow myself some quinoa on occasion, with a particular passion for quinoa salads 😛. If you have strictly omitted quinoa from your menu, you won't be disappointed in this recipe without the quinoa, the flavors are still terrific.
1 butternut squash, cut into 1/2” chunks
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp oregano
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa (optional)
1 cup sliced olives
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
I know it looks like a long ingredient list, but it’s really not that difficult, so hang in there and just know it will be worth it!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees for roasting the squash. Coat the squash with one tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on roasting pan. Roast the squash for 10 minutes and then remove half of the chunks of squash and set aside. Return the remainder of squash to the oven and continue to roast for another 10 -15 minutes or until completely soft. Remove the soft squash from the oven, place in a bowl and mash. (This process allows half to be mashed, thickening the stew, and the other half left in chunks to enjoy).
In a large pot, preferably dutch oven, heat the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the chicken thighs, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes. Transfer thighs to a plate and allow to cool. Pour the chicken broth into a medium size bowl and set aside.
Return the pot to the stove and heat a tablespoon of olive oil to medium. Add the onion and garlic, stirring until onion is turning brown, about 10 minutes. Add salt and oregano and continue to stir for one minute.
To the pot add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces and mashed butternut squash, chicken broth, and quinoa (optional). Bring to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes.
Shred the chicken and add to the pot along with olives. Add fresh pepper to taste and warm through. Just before serving add the parsley.
There are a couple of variations to this recipe I have tried over the years. One was to steam the squash rather than roast, that was the original instructions for this stew. It’s good, maybe a tad bit easier, but the roasting adds flavor to the squash that I like. Another option is using kalamata olives, these were a bit salty for my taste but definitely added another zip of flavor. If you use kalamata olives I would recommend omitting the addition of salt.
This is a perfect crowd pleaser so keep it on your menu planning as the holiday season approaches, it is healthy and filling for your big appetites!