Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Braised Acorn Squash, Apple & Chicken

This week my mom wanted to bring dinner over to the grandparents' house, and I wanted to use up some acorn squash and try braising something in beer. 

To get these ideas together I used a Better Homes & Gardens recipe for "Brown Ale-Braised Chicken" and combined it with an Emeril Lagasse recipe for "Braised Apple, Roasted Acorn Squash, and Fresh Thyme." Both of those recipes sound great; what I made doesn't resemble either one. But it was really good, just a little sweet and lots of good texture, and I'm looking forward to making different variations of it for fall and winter dinners.

Pretty much everything in our fridge found its way into this dish, and somehow it worked out. We've got apples, acorn squash (which got a little pre-roasting before going in the mix), red peppers, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken and broth. And pumpkin beer. 

The grandparents liked it.

They weren't told about the beer since according to them "alcohol is not necessary for success," potentially even in braised chicken dishes. They are entitled to their opinion since they are 86 and 87 years old.

Very very vaguely adapted from "Braised Apples, Roasted Acorn Squash, and Fresh Thyme" from Emeril Lagasse's Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh (2010) and "Brown Ale-Braised Chicken" from the October 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens 

This has to be a pretty loose recipe since I didn't measure anything that went into it. I think it would be more useful to just lay out the steps and take it from there if you want to cook something along the same lines with whatever happens to be in your fridge.

1. If you feel like it, pre-roast the acorn squash before adding it to the skillet. I cut up one acorn squash into chunks, rubbed them with a little butter, brown sugar, chili powder, and black pepper, and baked them at 400 for about 10 minutes. I don't think this step is really necessary, but it's not wasting much energy since the oven has to pre-heat anyway.

2. Rub some chicken with brown sugar, chili powder, salt, black pepper and maybe crushed red pepper. I cut up a breast into pretty large pieces but thigh meat would be good too - that's what they use in the Better Homes and Gardens recipe

3. In a pretty big skillet fry up chicken until browned a little but not too much. (I realize it's probably not okay to say "a little but not too much" in a recipe but this isn't a normal recipe, so, you know... use your judgement. It will be cooking in the oven for another 40 minutes.) Remove from skillet but let fat remain, unless it's too much and you want to take some out - again, I used breasts so I didn't have much fat.

4. Fry up chopped onion, celery and carrots in the skillet. The BHG recipe uses "small whole carrots with tops, peeled and tops trimmed to 1 inch," which sounds nice if you've got them around. My dog dug up my carrot seeds so no pretty little carrots here.

5. Drop everything else in: peppers, apples, chicken, garlic, a little broth (about 1/2 cup) and a little beer (I added a whole bottle because BHG told me to, but next time I'll add 1/2 a bottle and drink the rest - too much liquid going on with all these other things filling up the skillet). Next time I make something like this I will add some sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary at this point. Most of my herbs are still kicking at this point (mid-October), so might as well use them up.

6. Cover and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. 

(7.) I transfered it to a Pyrex bowl at this point to take to the grandparents' house, and since there was plenty of liquid left in the skillet I made a gravy with cornstarch slurry. I put that in a separate bowl to take over and served it with roasted little potatoes, but it would be really good with a salad. With raisins maybe...

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...