Chicken & Butternut Squash Stew

As usual, I was surfing Pinterest for some new dinner recipes the other day. I’m big on seasonal food, so I love making soup in the fall and winter. I had a recipe for chicken & butternut squash stew pinned to my dinner board and had been anxious to try it. As it was written, though, it required a lot of standing at the stove. With two littles in the house, dinner making is enough of a challenge. I really have to simplify as much as possible and minimize the amount of time spent actually prepping and cooking. So I did the natural thing – made it in the crock pot! I have to say, it couldn’t have been easier!

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Here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced {you could also just get a smaller one, but I just freeze the rest to use later in other recipes or baby food}
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz can of black beans {rinsed and drained}
  • 3 cups of chicken broth {1 full box, -1 cup}
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar to take the edge of the tomatoes, maple syrup would work as well if you don’t like adding sugar ;)
  • 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa

Here’s what I did:
Toss everything into the crock pot except for the quinoa and 1 cup of chicken broth. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Scoop out the chicken breasts and shred them up. Then add them back to the pot. You could also cut them up into chunks from the get-go and skip this step if you prefer chunks over shreds. Then cook 1/2 cup of quinoa in the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth. Once that is cooked, add it to the soup. You’re done!

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This was a huge hit here in The Luckiest Household. Even my husband, who is not a big veggie guy, loved it and promptly packed up the rest in individual servings to take for his lunch. We’ll definitely be making this again!

Whenever I make a new recipe I usually come up with improvements to the process or the ingredients either while I’m cooking or after tasting it. For this one, I already mentioned adapting for the crock pot instead of standing at the stove. I also eliminated a bunch of prep steps with the squash by simply dicing it and tossing it in the pot. While I loved the taste of this soup just as I made it, I also think it would be really good with some heavy cream and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Or you could spice it up with your favorite hot sauce, some red pepper flakes, or even chopped peppers right in the soup. It would be interesting to change up the meat too- pork or beef both seem like good options.

If anyone makes it, let me know how it turns out in a comment and share what (if any) variations you used! Enjoy!

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