Butternut Squash, Chicken and Couscous One Pot

Butternut squash reminds me of introducing my kids to solids, both boys loved it and it destroyed many’s the bib.  For some reason I rarely cook it these days, but all that will change soon as Miss L is about to enter the world of “real food” consumption.

The motivation for this dish was that Aldi have butternut squash for 39 cent this week. I couldn’t believe it. Now, they’re small but this recipe calls for a small one, so no waste.

I had chicken breasts in the fridge. They always annoy me. I eye them up if they are a great mystery and rack my brains as to what to do with them. Now, I know that there’s LOADS of things that you can make with chicken breasts but for some reason my mind always draws a blank.  This recipe is now on the “things to do with chicken breast” list.

I got the recipe from my favourite source BBC Good Food– I made changes to cater for the palates in this house and the contents of the fridge.

There’s one slightly unusual ingredient in the recipe- harissa paste – it’s a spicy paste from Tunisia along the style of curry paste. I got mine in Tesco aaaages ago, it’s own brand.  It’s fairly hot so I cut the spice way down in this recipe to make it more kid friendly. If you wanted to leave it out you could, but maybe add some dried chilies and some tomato puree to give the dish a lift.

Top Tip: If your kids don’t like their food too spicy add a dollop of creme fraiche to theirs, this has worked in our house and the boys ask for “more not spicy” on theirs.

There’s some good news- there’s not much washing up as it’s a genuine one pot dish.  You can definitely prep it early and finish later, that’s what I did today- I did the first two steps this morning then reheated and moved on to the final step ten minutes before we wanted to eat. I find meals that can be cooked in this way very handy and grab some time while baby naps or there’s a good Peppa episode on for Cathal to get dinner started.

The finished product tastes tomatoey and lemony and if I’d had coriander I think it would have been even more delicious, but our coriander plant on the windowsill is recently deceased.

This would make a great leftovers lunch for bringing to school (if your child isn’t too messy an eater) or work if you aren’t, and is good hot or cold.

Disclosure: the boys didn’t eat this, or what they did they ate grudgingly. No reasons were given other than “it’s not what I WANTED mama” and Ciarán suggested that he’d prefer some cucumber and tomatoes. Ah well. I am confident that they will eat it next time. There WILL be a next time for this dish.

Butternut Squash, Chicken and Couscous One Pot
(Source: BBC Good Food, with adaptation)

Dinner
Dinner- the coriander would make it look prettier
  • 2 teaspoons harissa paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1cm chunks (no need to peel- this is news to me too!)
  • 2 x 400g cans tomatoes
  • zest and juice 1 big lemon
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved (or plum tomatoes quartered)
  • 175g couscous (mine was slightly runny so I’ve upped this a bit from the original)
  • small bunch coriander, roughly chopped (of course I didn’t have this)

Heat a large non-stick (if you have one) saucepan on the hob. Add the harissa, spices and onions, stir and cook slowly for 10 minutes until soft. Add chicken and brown for 5-10 mins. Add the butternut squash, stirring to combine. If it starts to stick you can add a splash of water. Cook for 5 mins more, then add the tinned tomatoes and ½ can of water, cover and simmer for 20-30 mins. [STOP HERE IF YOU WANT TO FINISH LATER]

Add the lemon zest and juice, fresh tomatoes, couscous and season to taste (I added salt, pepper and a teeny bit of sugar to counter the acidity of the tomatoes. Pop on a lid and turn off the heat. Leave on the hob for 10 mins, then stir through the coriander (if you have it) and serve.

Enjoy.

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6 thoughts on “Butternut Squash, Chicken and Couscous One Pot

  1. Mmmmm… I have a butternut squash winking at me, waiting to be used. The fact that you don’t have to peel it (REALLY?!) is a huge deciding factor 🙂

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