Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Rice

At some point back in those distant, glorious early fall days, the farmer's market was just rolling in butternut squash. A surplus of product, you may remember from your Economics 101 days, usually drives prices down. Penny-pincher that I am, I stocked up.

Right about that time, however, a combination of crazy new work schedules, lack of foresight, and general stupidity meant that most of those butternut squash are . . . still sitting in the garage, looking a little moldy 'round the edges.

Having established that I am something of a penny-pincher, moldy edges failed to deter me from cooking up this tasty dish. Admittedly, this was a month or two or three ago, and I still have more squash sitting out in the garage (discounting the pumpkins scattered throughout the house, which I suppose also ought to be cooked eventually), but I just found a new butternut squash soup recipe I need to try--and really, a slip of mold or squash rot here or there never hurt anyone, right?

To reassure those of you (such as my mother) who are genuinely worried for my (or perhaps the Darling Devoted Husband's) gastrointestinal health, obviously I chopped off the moldy edges. Any squash flesh which has turned brown or otherwise looks inedible is discarded. I promise, next year I shall figure out a better way to preserve the harvest's bounty than sticking it in the garage.

To begin, peel and chop into roughly one-inch pieces a butternut squash:


Chop two or three boneless, skinless chicken breasts into one-inch pieces. Then, gather your other ingredients. Rice, pine nuts, chicken bouillon cubes, and water:

Cinnamon, turmeric, ground ginger, cumin, and paprika:

Brown onion and garlic in a pan:


Add some pine nuts to toast:


Add the butternut squash, chicken, chicken broth, and spices:


Cover and let simmer until squash is tender and chicken is cooked through. Meanwhile, cook rice in water or broth in another pot. 
When the chicken is cooked and squash is tender, remove lid and allow mixture to cook down a little while you toast the remainder of the pine nuts:


 And add them to the rice (here, creamy arborio rice):

Serve the chicken and squash mixture over the rice.


The squash seems like it would be out of place with these bold spices, but it fit in surprisingly well. Even the DDH liked it, and he's really not a squash fan (another reason they're still languishing in the garage). In fact, now that I look at the pictures, I think I may go make it again.


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