Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hearty Chicken Stew w/ Butternut Squash & Quinoa

Oh man, this soup was nothing short of amazing!  I thought it looked great and healthy when I saw the recipe on Pinterest, but had no idea how great it would taste!  It was hearty, comforting, healthy, and flavorful.  The original recipe called for adding Kalamata olives, but I thought those were a strange addition and quite pricey (and I'm not an olive person), so I left them out.  As always I suggest tasting it and continue to add seasoning until it tastes right!  I ended up adding more garlic, a pinch of cinnamon, salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes.  I wasn't sure if the parsley would be needed but I really liked the freshness it added to the soup.  Although chicken breast is healthier, I tried using the chicken thighs for the first time because they are so incredibly cheap and they were great, but you can change that if you wish.  Lastly, if you have leftovers, add some water before reheating, because the quinoa expands in liquid and the soup will get thick.  This soup is a must make!

Recipe via Cooking Canuck
Serves 6

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
32 oz chicken broth, low in sodium
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
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Steam the butternut squash until barely tender.  I did this by placing in microwave safe container with a small amount of water in the bottom for about 5-6 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.
Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 2-3 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
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. 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.
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.
Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.
Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes.
Stir in parsley and serve.

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