Eating for Life | Tame tough winter squash for chicken vegetable stew

Prep it in the microwave before cutting into cubes.

Updated: 2012-02-15T02:35:29Z


The Kansas City Star

Say what you will about the impressive nutritional value of butternut squash, but it is one tough-skinned cookie.

Like sweet potatoes and carrots, butternut squash contains high levels of beta carotene, and it is rich in iron and potassium. Yet its thick rind often leaves cooks wrestling the unwieldy squash across the kitchen counter with a cleaver.

The Star’s Harvest-Time Chicken Vegetable Stew not only marries the delicious flavor and nutritional benefits of this orange-fleshed squash, it also includes some easy preparation tips that make removing the rind easier.

• Cooking tip: To cut and peel the squash, pierce the squash several times with the tip of a sharp knife. Microwave it on high for 1 to 2 minutes; allow to stand 3 minutes. Cut off the stem ends, cut in half and scoop out seeds with your hands or a spoon. You can then peel the squash with a knife or vegetable peeler and cut into the desired size cubes.

• Vegetarian tip: For a vegetarian dish, omit chicken and proceed as recipe directs.

Harvest-Time Chicken Vegetable Curry Stew

Makes 6 servings (9 cups total yield; about 1 1/2 cups per serving)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 to 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups butternut squash cubes (about 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 medium carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons curry powder, or to taste

1 tablespoon minced gingerroot

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 cups unsalted vegetable stock

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Minced cilantro

Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add chicken, onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add squash and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.

Stir in sweet potatoes, carrots, red pepper, curry powder, ginger, red pepper flakes and stock. Cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes.

Stir in beans and cook 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cold water. Stir cornstarch mixture into curry. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until bubbly and lightly thickened.

Ladle into bowls. Garnish each serving with minced cilantro.

Per serving, using 1/2 pound chicken: 260 calories (16 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 22 milligrams cholesterol, 41 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 168 milligrams sodium, 7 grams dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, call 816-234-4347 or send email to

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