Ben requested chicken pot pie or something similar for dinner the other night and since it was too close to dinner time to attempt that, this is what I came up with. I served it with parmesan herb popovers and it was a yummy alternative to pot pie. It’s a bit more of a fall/winter type dish, but it was really good even in the hot weather. Here’s what I did, roughly.
Chicken Squash Stew – 6 generous servings
1/2 butternut squash, chopped to 1in pieces
2 T chicken boullion
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1/8 tsp curry
1 C shredded zucchini
1 C chopped, cooked chicken
2 C cooked rice
2 oz cream cheese
2 C milk
1 C shredded cheese, I used cheddar
Put your butternut squash, onion, and boullion in a large, deep saute pan or a pot and just cover with water. Cover with a lid and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring the water to a steady boil and cook the squash until almost fork-tender. Add the cauliflower, curry, and nutmeg and stir. Recover and cook for a bit more.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the zucchini, chicken, cream cheese and rice. If any of those things are cold(I used leftover rice from the fridge, for example) then give them a minute or so to warm up and un-clump. Mix your milk and cornstarch together. If you have a lot of liquid even before adding the milk , then use the cornstarch. If your stew is already really thick from adding the rice then skip it, the rice will be enough to handle the extra milk. Pour in the milk, give it a good stir and bring it all back to a simmer. Sprinkle on the cheese, give it a minute to melt and then stir it in. Taste, salt and pepper as needed. Serve with fresh bread, if you have time.
This recipe is extremely adaptable. If you don’t have butternut squash then another squash would work just fine. Just remember to reduce cook times if you use a soft squash, like yellow zucchini, instead of a hard squash, like butternut, acorn, patty pan, etc. Change out what kind of cheese you use. Prefer swiss to cheddar? No problem. The only chicken you have on hand is leftover from KFC? Pick it off the bone, chop it and toss it in! Don’t like cauliflower? Broccoli would add a fun color contrast.
I have a terrible time writing recipes because I am always changing stuff. I see two recipes I like for similar things and have ingredients for half of each and I just combine them. It doesn’t always work, but I always learn from my experimenting. No one should be running to the grocery store right before dinner because they don’t have one ingredient for what they’d like to make. If it is an essential item to you then make it a different day, but otherwise, experiment! Have fun!