Acorn, Apple and Apricot Chicken

My weekly shopping trip last week yielded two very pretty acorn squash. Squash is at its peak right now and there were so many to choose from. The acorn squash looked more appealing than the rest so I chose them. One was a deep orange gold squash and the other a beautifully striped carnival squash. They were too hard to resist, but once I got them home it seemed wrong to serve them in the non-showy, yet traditional, baked and buttered way.

I thought about it and decided stuffed would be good, but again, the usual stuffings didn't appeal to me. I had some dried apricots and Granny Smith apples lurking in the kitchen with nowhere else to go and a few chicken breasts that needed to be used so I improvised and this is the resulting, and delicious, dish.

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

    2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
    olive oil
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 shallot, minced
    2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cut in 1-inch cubes
    6 whole dried apricots, diced small
    1 medium Granny Smith apple, diced small
    1/2 cup water
    white pepper and coarse salt to taste

Directions

  1. Place acorn squash halves on a baking sheet -- cut side down -- and bake in a 350 degree F oven until soft - about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over a medium-high flame and add olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons), garlic and shallots, stirring quickly for a few seconds.
  3. Add cubed chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove chicken cubes and add water and apricots.
  4. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until apricots soften.
  5. Add chicken and apple and simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the apples just start to soften -- don't overcook or you'll have applesauce!
  6. Season with pepper and salt and mound in the center of the acorn squash halves.
  7. Sprinkle with a lovely snipped fresh green herb like tarragon or oregano.

Note
Wild rice would be a perfect side for this, and not overwhelming in taste since this is a more delicately flavored dish.

See more recipes from Anne Coleman (aka Short Order Mom).

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