Tuesday, October 13, 2015

cooking light, cooking right ~ fast chicken chili with butternut squash

Neighbors.  I guess there are such things as bad ones, but we have just not been the recipient of those.  In the 18 years we've been married, with a total of three houses, God has placed us right smack-dab in the middle of fantastic neighbors every time.  Actually, truth be told, we don't even call them neighbors, but, rather, friends.  A blessing, indeed!

My parents have been just as fortunate.  They have some of the most giving, talented, hard-working neighbors I know.  They're originally from Taiwan and have over an acre of property that grows the most beautiful vegetables and fruit I've ever laid eyes on.  AND, they share the bounty without thinking twice.  This is why I have four butternut squash atop my refrigerator and why, this last weekend, we had some of the best soup ever.

I really do enjoy butternut squash.  I especially like it because it lasts forever sitting on the counter, in case I bought it with a grand plan and then didn't get around to using it as soon as I'd hoped.

Please tell me I'm not the only one…

I also love the squash because of its mildly sweet flavor and beautiful color.  For this soup, it's cubed and sautéed, rather than roasted.  So. Good.

I usually tweak a recipe, as most do.  I add a little more if this, or take away some of that to suit our liking. I did nothing to this recipe, except what the recipe called for.  I LOVE it when that happens!  Just follow the steps, and you're golden.

You might be tempted to cut the final flavor burst of grated lime zest, garlic, and cilantro to save time or effort, or whatever.  I beg you, DON'T DO IT!  It takes a split-second and is completely and totally worth it.  Trust me.

There was a lot going on at the Lazy Daisy this last weekend, and I can't wait to share more.  Fall is in full swing, and as I texted my dear friend who lives too far away last night, "Here's to Butter Rum candles and steaming mugs of coffee."  Autumn at its best!

Fast Chicken Chili with Butternut Squash

makes six servings

3 tbsp canola oil, divided
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed and peeled butternut squash
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tbsp minced jalapeno pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 (14.5 oz) cans unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
3 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp grated lime zest

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add squash; saute 8 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides.  Remove squash from pan; set aside.

2.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon foil to pan.  Add 5 teaspoons garlic, onion, and next 7 ingredients (through crushed red pepper) to pan; saute 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add stock; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

3.  Place 1 cup beans in a small bowl, mash with a potato masher or a fork.  Add mashed beans, remaining 1 cup beans, and reserved squash to pan.  Cook 3 minutes.  Stir in chicken, cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

4.  Combine remaining 1 teaspoon garlic, cilantro, and lime rind in a small bowl.  Top each serving with about 1 teaspoon cilantro mixture.

Recipe from Cooking Light