It has been a weird start to the autumn season here in the DC area. The temperatures have been hovering between the high 60°F mark and the mid-70°F mark, and last week it even got above 80°F. It feels more like early summer than early fall, and I was really beginning to wonder where my beloved crisp evenings filled with wood smoke were – that is until this weekend. Saturday night the temperature bottomed out in the low 40s and when I woke up all I wanted to do was stay in bed cuddled deep under my quilt with a good book. I love lazy fall weekends!
In honor of the final arrival of autumn, I decided to make my first stew on Saturday. Hot, hearty, and healthy, this simple spin on chicken soup with extra veggies and quinoa is great with a hunk of fresh artisan bread for dipping and freezes well for lunches later in the month.
Chicken Stew with Squash and Quinoa
3-4 medium carrots
1 medium yellow onion
2 stalks celery
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons (more or less to taste) Mexican style chili poweder
½ teaspoon cumin
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1 small butternut squash
½ cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
salt & pepper to taste
1) Dice celery and carrots into bite sized peices. Finely dice onion. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large soup pot and saute celery, carrots, and onion for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder saute for another 1-2 minutes.
2) Add broth and water to pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken breasts/thighs and simmer until thoroughly cooked. Remove and set aside to cool enough to handle.
3) While the chicken is cooking, peel and dice (about half-inch cubes) butternut squash.
4) Once you’ve removed the chicken from the broth, add the butternut squash and quinoa and simmer.
5) When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it using forks or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
6) *Optional* Remove about half a cup of the cooked butternut squash and mash with a fork. Stir back into the soup.
7) Add chicken back into the soup and simmer for about 20 more minutes to let flavors fully develop.