Chicken and Butternut Squash – Skillet Time

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Chicken and butternut squash! It seems so obvious, once you’ve had it. Butternut squash complements chicken, a meat that takes a lot of cues from whatever it’s served with. The beautiful orange of butternut squash is such a symbol of autumn food for me.

Even though the weather here in London and back home in the Northeast has been flirting with freezing, I am not yet willing to let go of my orange vegetables and spiced desserts.

Because of how much time it takes to cook, it is really great for slow one-pot dishes. For me, chicken fits that really well, too. (One of my favorite meals is Coq au Vin.)

This recipe takes a bit of a time commitment, but the results are so good and so hearty that it’s worth it. If you’ve never butchered a butternut squash before, a bit of elbow grease and a good knife should sort it you out.

First, halve it and scoop out the seeds and slimy bits.

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Then, peel or cut the skin off the outside of the pieces (I did 2 rounds of peeling) and chop it into rows, then cubes.

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Recipe adapted from Serious Eats: Pan-Cooked Chicken Thighs with Butternut Squash

Serves: 4

On the Counter

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 chicken drumstick and thigh pieces (about 2 pounds [1kg] total)
1 cubed butternut squash
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp dried sage (or 2 tbsp fresh sage)
1 cup (235 mL) chicken stock (gluten free, if needed)
1 tbsp (14g) butter
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
kosher or ground rock salt and black pepper

What to Do

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is shimmering, add chicken pieces, skin-side down and cook, without moving the chicken.
When they are golden brown and the skin is crispy, (about 8 to 10 minutes),  flip the pieces and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side.
Set the chicken aside on a plate.

Add the squash into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown and soften. If it starts to burn, lower the heat and keep cooking.
Next add the onion and stir frequently, until slightly softened.
Sprinkle  the sage and a pinch of salt over the onion and squash.

Add chicken broth slowly to deglaze the pan, scraping up brown bits.   
Move the squash to the sides, leaving as much open space in the pan as possible and return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up.
Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook it all, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, and the stock has reduced to about 1/2 cup (120mL). This should take between 15 and 20 minutes. 

Remove the skillet from the heat and, once again, set the chicken aside.
Stir butter and lemon juice into the squash/broth mixture until combined.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with the chicken.

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I chose a side of wilted spinach with garlic and lemon.

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