Curried squash and chicken

For me,  Fall has always meant bounty. Growing up in a farm, I learned to see in this season not a time of death, but a time for reaping the benefits of hard work done all year long. Corn is harvested, beans are pulled in, stuff is growing like crazy out in the garden.. the shift of seasons means there’s food  aplenty.  One of the foods that stands out to me the  most now, that I’m off the farm, is squash. All varieties, shapes and flavors do so well in preserving themselves once they’re picked that  this food is a no-brainer to have on hand.  So when mom sent me home with a huge squash last time I was in Nebraska, I knew that the heavy gourd would serve me well  at some point in the months to come.  That time has arrived, and today I decided to make a Thai influenced curried squash and chicken dish.

First, I chopped my squash at random intervals, so that I could roast it and peel the skin more easily. When it was done roasting (it took about an hour because the segments were all shoved into a small pan), I peeled the now-soft skin from the meat, cubed the flesh and set it aside.

As the squash was roasting in the over, I browned 4 chicken thighs in a skillet, heating each side for about 8 minutes and then flipping.  I let the meat cool, then cut some pieces of flesh off the bone, left some pieces still attached to the bones, and tossed the chicken into a stock pot. I poured in 2 cans of coconut milk, stirred in about 3 T of green curry paste (red would probably work well too), added a chicken bouillon cube, and the squash.

This all bubbled and meshed on medium high for a while (probably 20 minutes), with me stirring every so often.  Because I used a whole squash, I felt like the sweetness of the coconut milk was cut down, so I added a small handful of dark brown sugar to the mix after about 20 minutes. At that time I also lowered the heat, to medium.

The thing about a curry like this is that you can cook the stew for a while,  letting the squash break down to a thick mash, or cut your cooking time and have definite chunks of squash still whole and accounted for. Up to you. If you  want all the cubes to break down, make sure you are stirring periodically so the coconut milk doesn’t burn and the squash doesn’t stick to your pan.

Other ingredients would do well in here, too: green beans, potatoes, maybe some peas or carrots, but I didn’t want to buy all that stuff, so I didn’t use anything other than what I had on hand.  To serve this all up, I  steamed up a couple of cups of white rice in the ol’ steamer (but noodles would certainly hold it all together well), and voila:

It was almost being in Thailand again.

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