Butternut Squash, Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet

I am drawn to all the squashes being stocked at the groceries and markets. They are not only tasty, but pretty as well. There are tons of creative ways to incorporate them into your holiday décor. I am definitely partial to food that I can decorate with!

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I love that they are play the role of both vegetable and starch. It’s sneaky, they go both ways. In fact they double their character by being used in both savory and sweet sides of the kitchen.  This week though I stuck with the savory side, a cassoulet type soup/stew.  Rich and hearty and packed with fall flavors.

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1 pound raw chicken breast, diced into 3/4 inch cubes
1 tablespoon Herb de Provence
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 red pepper, roasted, seeded, skin removed and diced
1 green pepper, roasted, seeded, skin removed and diced
12 ounce sausage crumbles, turkey or pork
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and diced in to 3/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon chopped sage
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sliced green onions

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Start by marinating the chicken with the Herb de Provence, salt and pepper. Allow the chicken to marinate at least 1 hour. Roast your peppers in high temp oven or over a grill and remove seeds and skin, then dice and reserve.

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Place a heavy bottom stock pot over medium high heat and add sausage crumbles. While stirring sausage add in the chicken, squash, onions, celery and sage. You may need to add a touch of oil depending on how much fat leeches out of the sausage. When onions are translucent and there is a bit of color on the squash and chicken pour in the chicken stock.

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Turn the heat to medium and allow to simmer for another 20 minutes. Add in the roasted, diced peppers and adjust with salt and pepper to your taste. Before serving add the green onions.

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Serves 4-6 guests

This is a quick and easy fall dinner, one that gets better with age, so it’s a perfect do ahead meal for your busy weeks coming up! Just have to sacrifice one of your display squashes!

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Warm wishes and happy Thanksgiving!!

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Roasted Poblano and Apricot Chicken Chili, On A Stormy Summer Night!

Rainy Summer Comfort

I know, I know…….typically, chili is seen in the fall, with cool days, but here in Florida those don’t come around too often.  We have been having a lot of stormy afternoons lately, so the comforting chili has made an early appearance!

I tend to use canned beans with chili as a time saver, but you can use dried if you prefer.   As a matter of fact, the beans I use change frequently, dictated by what’s in the cabinet.  The only thing that I try to keep constant is the low sodium, which is why I ended up with organic beans this time.  I just want you to know any beans will do –

When a recipe calls for cumin or coriander, I like to take the time to use whole seeds, toast them and then grind them in a coffee grinder.  The aromatics are so intense, toasting them is imperative as who knows how long the seeds sat in the containers before they reached our cabinets.  This will really refresh them and make a HUGE difference in flavor.  (FYI, the same theory is true with nuts).   Just put the seeds in a small sauté pan by themselves over medium low heat, and roll them around until you start to smell them.  Be careful not to walk away, as they are quick to be forgotten about and even quicker to burn! 🙂

To char the peppers, just throw them on the grill, or roast them in the high heated oven until a charred color is achieved.  Sometimes a roasted/charred pepper will call for the skin to be removed, but in this case I don’t think it is necessary, it is chili after all-

I love the spicy sweet of this recipe, the cinnamon ties it all together perfectly, without taking a lead role.

Mise en place, onions, garlic, lime and cilantro- Makings of any good meal!

Roasted Poblano and Apricot Chicken Chili

2 teaspoon olive oil
1 Bay Leaf
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 lbs. ground chicken breast
15 oz. canned low sodium organic pinto beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. canned low sodium soy beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup diced dried apricots
1½ teaspoon toasted ground cumin
1½ teaspoon toasted ground coriander
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lime, zest and juice
2 poblano peppers, charred and diced
½ cup white corn meal
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Beans- Washed and rinsed. Whichevers clever..

Charring beautifully!

Start by heating the olive oil in a heavy 4-quart sauce pan; add the bay leaf, chopped onion, chopped garlic and ground chicken breast and sauté.  When the onions are translucent and the chicken is cooked add the beans and the chicken stock to the pot.  Bring the ingredients to a slow simmer and add the apricots, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, lime zest, lime juice, and diced poblano peppers.

White Corn Meal- This will thicken the chili to the right consistency.

Diced Poblanos- You can substitute different peppers if you like!

Let the chili simmer for 5 minutes, then add the white corn meal, stirring until the chili is thickened.  Allow the chili to continue cooking over low heat for the flavors to meld together.  Put the chopped cilantro in a few minutes before serving, which leaves the color fresh and bright!

Garnish with sour cream, salsa, corn tortilla chips, or whatever you like.  As with most chili…the next day the flavors were even more developed – if it can last that long in your house!

Charred Poblano and Apricot Chicken Chili