Monday, October 27, 2014

Acorn Squash with Mexican Braised Chicken & Orzo Salad

roasted ACORN SQUASH // MEXICAN braised chicken & ORZO salad

I had a really poignant post in the works about the commercialization of fall and pumpkin spice lattes, etc., but I just deleted it all.  I mean, it was good stuff about objectification that occurs in market-oriented capitalism, the state of "basic" white women, the substitution of things for nuanced emotions, and all that, but figured you probably just wanted the quick stuff about the food.  It's been way over a year that I've been blogging recipes, and still haven't figured out what the hell to write in these little blurbs. 

There's no real inspiration here besides, just, fall.  I had an acorn squash around, because you see them in the store and you just have to buy one.  You're not going to not put that in your cart.  So I had one, I baked it, and I filled it with something hearty.  It was tasty.  It looks pretty, too.  Enjoy.

Ingredients (makes two servings):

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup baby spinach, arugula, or both
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. coriander 
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the squash in half, removing the seeds and setting them aside for later use.  Rub the inside of the squash with a 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil, salt, and roast on pan for about 30 minutes (or until meat is completely soft).  
  2. Cook the orzo in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain and set aside to cool.  Stir in 1 tbsp. of olive oil to keep the orzo from clumping.
  3. Combine the spices and salt and coat the chicken breast (this should leave about a tsp. of spice mix remaining).  Heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil in a pot and sear the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan and set aside. 
  4. Add the sliced onion to the same pot, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the chopped garlic for another two minutes.  Return the chicken to the pot and cover with the chicken stock.  Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  5. In the meantime, rinse the acorn seeds to remove the squash fibers, and toss in the remaining spices and brown sugar.  Spread them out on an aluminum lined pan, and toast them on the upper rack of the oven for about 10 minutes.
  6. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pot and pull the meat apart with a fork.  Combine the shredded chicken, cooked onions, toasted acorn seeds, cilantro, and greens in a large bowl.  Add salt to taste and serve inside the roasted squash.  

For the visual learners:

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