Hearty Chicken and Squash Stew
If you read my last post, you know how hard I have been working on completing the two term papers I have due. Well, one of them is done and the other is in the works (grant me strength, O’ Oprah) and I finally got a little time to prep my meals for the next week. So I made a completely from-scratch Chicken and Squash Stew. And this recipe will surely last me more than a week. In fact, I will probably have to freeze most of it!
Why stew? A few reasons:
1) Stew is gooood.
2) While writing my paper on the culinary culture of Sephardic Judaism (stop it, I know I would) I found a recipe for Argentinian “Cazuela Gaucho.” It is a hearty chicken and vegetable stew created by the Russian immigrants that settled as gauchos, or cowboys, in Argentina. The recipe that inspired me can be found here, although I did not follow the recipe verbatim while making mine.
3) My soul needed some Chicken Soup. Obviously, the events on Marathon Monday were horrible and upsetting. Plus, on top of that AND all the stress I’ve been dealing with academically, I had to make a decision I’ve been avoiding. I had to approach my teacher about cutting back on my jury repertoire, for a second time. My personal philosophy up until now has been working SO well, which is that if I play pieces that are doable but out of my comfort zone for each jury, I will gain confidence. Now, I would have been able to pull off all the new repertoire that I wanted to do, had I not weighed myself down with so much academic work. So, to save myself from an almost certain total meltdown (I already had a partial one on Monday), I decided to bring back the first section of my concerto and just play the last section on my studio recital instead. Although I am admittedly disappointed in myself for taking the easier way out, I feel much more at ease mentally and physically now.
BUT BACK TO THE STEW.
Here’s how you make the best chicken stew ever. No, that’s not an assumption. This is the best chicken stew ever:
Hearty Chicken and Squash Stew (Servings: ??? We’ll go with… A crap ton.)
- 1 box (4 cups) no-salt-added chicken stock
- 3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
- 1 kabocha squash, seeds removed, peeled, and cubed (Note: You can use whatever squash you like, the kabocha yields about 2 cups)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thick
- 1/2 lb. green beans, cut
- 1 bag frozen peas
- 1/2 bag frozen corn
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 3-4 cloves minced garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- Optional: 1-2 cups pre-cooked quinoa
Prepare the seasoning mix (paprika, cinnamon, curry, and garlic powder). Feel free to tweak the seasoning as you wish, but the cinnamon is the magic ingredient! 😉
In a pan with a little olive oil, sautée the onions and minced garlic until onions are translucent but tender. Combine the squash, sweet potato, and all the remaining vegetables together into a large soup pot that’s been coated with a bit of olive oil. On medium high heat, cook vegetables for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add all of the chicken stock and put heat on high. Bring to a boil, then reduce back to medium-high and add the seasoning mixture, cooking until the squash and sweet potato are cooked through. Reduce to simmer.
In the same pan you used for the onions, add the cut up chicken and cook over medium heat until mostly cooked through. With a slotted spoon (to keep unnecessary fat out), transfer the chicken to the soup pot. Allow the chicken to finish cooking in the stew pot, or about 10-15 minutes on simmer. At this point, you may add 1-2 cups of cooked quinoa. I happened to have some in the fridge, and it not only helped soak up the liquid, but added great texture!
TIP: To make this recipe vegan, substitute the chicken with beans such as chickpeas or kidney beans and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
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