Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Craving Comfort

As the weather turns colder and the smells of my Christmas tree envelope my house, I can only think of curling up on my couch (in pajamas of course) and consuming a big bowl of hearty soup. I came across this fabulous recipe in my blog stalking one day. I actually have no idea how I stumbled upon this blog or recipe, but I am sure glad I did! Dara, of Cookin' Canuck, created this recipe all on her own- I am impressed! Another plus is that this stew is low in calories and fat and has the added health benefits of butternut squash (Vitamins A & C AND fiber).

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
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
3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.

2. Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.

3. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add chicken thighs, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool.

4. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium. Add olive oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and oregano. Cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.

5. To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash. Stir to combine.
Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.

6. Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.

7. Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve.

*If you want to re-heat or make in advance, add more chicken broth when you are ready to serve it, as the quinoa absorbs a lot of it and expands.

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