Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Squash the Competition

There was a battle the other night: me vs. butternut squash.

I win. Maybe I just need a new peeler, but this was a hassle to prep.

This is a meal built for the harsh cold dead of winter. It should be served piping hot over some whole grain rice in a large bowl while snow is falling outside. Well, I got most of it right. It is definitely not winter this November in Southern California; it is barely even fall. I am not complaining as I am fan of nothing having to do with temperatures below 75 degrees F, but this dish would be most appreciated by people actually experiencing some cold weather conditions.

That being said, this is one of the healthiest tasty meals you can make. The squash provides a sort of potato-like consistency to give you the feeling of eating a hearty stew. Like so many slow cooker dishes, it is flavorful and easy (well, easy besides peeling the butternut squash...I will be buying it already peeled from now on). You can make this with chicken or beef, and it can be frozen to store for the future.

Squashed Out Chicken (or Beef) Stew

(recipe adapted from - makes 4 servings)

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch pieces (can also use 1 pound stewing beef)
1 butternut squash
1 large onion, sliced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (I omitted, since I didn’t have it on hand)
4 ounces baby carrots left whole
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano

Peel and halve the butternut squash. Scoop out the seeds, and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Quickly brown the meat by searing it in a skillet for about a minute. Place squash, vegetables and meat into a slow cooker.
Pour tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and oregano over the top.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

We have a lot to look forward to together, you and I. I am gearing up for Thanksgiving. Zach and I are not going to Florida for the holiday, and that leaves me with a full menu to plan. It is scary and exciting. This will be my first attempt at making a big bird so please feel free to leave any tips in your comments. I have been piecing together parts of recipes from all over the place to come up with something I think will meet our preferences. I am also up for suggestions for side dishes and desserts! Thanks for your help.


The Boston Lady said...

I actually got a bit excited at the prospect of you preparing a turkey for the first time! I never cooked a whole one until about 10 years ago.

I'm not an expert, but always make sure you get all the stuff out of the cavity. If you are going with a frozen one, it takes many days to thaw it out!!! Give yourself one extra thawing day. Thaw in the fridge, if possible.

Whether fresh or frozen, I tent some foil over the top of my turkey until about 40 minutes before it's done, then remove for browning. It cooks a little slower this way, but use a thermometer (sp) to give you an idea where you are in the roasting process.

This year I'm going to soak my turkey in a brine a friend told me about. It's supposed to keep the bird moist.

You will do great and I look forward to reading about it! Although we will miss you both...

Orlando Grandma said...

I cook the squash unpeelled, well scrubed, it is amazing how soft the feel becomes. As a matter of fact some people eat it peel and all. Just a thought.
Down here we should be together at the beach for Thanksgiving. Have a Happy one.

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