If I had thought of this sooner, I’d have done this for the most recent Smackdown. As it is, this one is definitely going into the “keeper” box. I’ve been trying to cook simple things, more veggie-oriented things, working on enhancing flavor rather than using a lot of heavy spice. One, to help G’s acid trouble and two for the practice of it. I sat at work all day today, typing and thinking what I was going to make for dinner. A few days ago I made some Brunswick stew but only used the dark meat, so I had a good amount of chicken breast in the fridge. I also had an acorn squash that I needed to use and a fennel bulb, likewise. So, the wheels started to turn…
After work, I put the squash in the oven to bake at 350:
They’re brushed with some melted butter and maple syrup (real) along with a little garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper to add a bit of zest. I popped them in the oven and headed downstairs to do my yoga session. Oh, I also put 1/4 cup of dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of raisins (that I dehydrated) into the last bit of bourbon and some water to soak. They’re so pretty:
By the time I was done with yoga, and worked up a good sweat, the squash was done. I pulled it out, set it on the stove and covered it with foil to keep warm. Then I chopped up about 1/4 of an onion, the fennel bulb and my last 2 baby bello mushrooms and sauteed them in a bit of olive oil with the shredded chicken.
Then, I made couscous. I got this foolproof recipe from the late Bert Greene, and it’s easy, quick and delicious: 1 box of couscous (this is almost exactly 1-1/2 cups dry), 2 cups chicken stock, 2 T olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp mace. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof pan (I use an 8″ cast iron skillet). Add the couscous and stir till well mixed with the oil and it starts to toast. Add the spices till the fragrance releases. Add the stock and stir till all liquid is absorbed. Stir in 2 T of butter and put into a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes.
I did this, then pulled out the skillet and mixed a good amount of the couscous into the chicken mixture. Then I spooned that into the still-warm squash:
I added a dollop of Greek yogurt thinned with a little bit of buttermilk and drizzled the rest of the maple syrup/butter/garlic/cayenne mixture over that. Then I popped it back into the oven (down to 350) for about 10 mins to heat through and then turned on the broiler for about 5 minutes. Perfect!
Let me tell you–these were GOOD! G and I were practically licking the squash rinds! I have enough stuffing left over to do more squash, but I only had one. Might have to make a trip to the store tomorrow…
This was really a great way to use up a lot of leftovers and little things I had lying around the fridge. Of course, I have to thank Eggy for a bit of inspiration, but I challenge you to see what wonderful goodies you can create out of what’s on hand.