Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicken & Winter Squash Stew

I have made this with store bought British style curry powder and with a blend of north African spices. This time I tried Punjabi garam masala from 660 Curries. It worked great. Something about the combination of chicken, squash and warming spices really works. Savory! I used a butternut squash but any winter squash would work. I used fire roasted tomatoes which are good but any canned tomato would work (and probably be cheaper). And finally, you could really use water instead of the stock. I made a quick stock with the skin and bones of the thighs and a couple of bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic cloves, smashed.

I used this recipe when experimenting with cooking with a Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin. Complete failure. Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin is flavorless and stringy.


8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 - 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
salt and pepper
1 butternut squash
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, cleaned & sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes (with their juice)
1 quart chicken stock
Steamed rice for serving


Combine the chicken, garama masala, turmeric, a big pinch of salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Place in the refrigerator while it waits for its turn in the pot and absorbs those flavors.

Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, halve, remove seeds and chop into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Heat vegetable oil over high heat in a large soup pot. Add onions and carrots and saute until beginning to soften. Normally I would have started with the chicken, removed it and sauteed the aromatics but I was letting it absorb that garam masala flavor in the fridge. Add chicken and continue cooking, stirring periodically, until the chicken begins to brown on all sides.

Add the tomatoes with their juice and stock to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken is about tender (I believe I went about a half an hour). Add the squash chunks and enough remaining stock to cover. Taste the broth for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.

Increase heat and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered until the squash is tender. Taste (again) for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper if necessary. Serve with steamed rice. Yum!


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