Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Maple Simmered Chicken

I've got to say it.  This one's not pretty.  No matter how you angle it, this recipe doesn't really look very appetizing.  It just doesn't.  Looks like a mess!  Like a disaster, or an accident, or a thrown-together mess of a thing.  But taste it, and you'll sing a different tune.  It's just sweet-tangy-tart enough to balance out the chicken.  And, provided your chicken isn't frozen (like mine was!) it's pretty quick to throw together, with ingredients that after Thanksgiving or Halloween baking might still be hanging around.

Maple Simmered Chicken
Makes: 4 servings

1 1/2 lb butternut squash, trimmed, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
8 oz fresh cranberries
1 tsp dried thyme (plus additional for garnish, optional)
1 lb untrimmed, boneless, skinless chicken breast

Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a boil on high heat; reduce to medium.  Add squash and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.  Drain well and return to pot.  Add yogurt and salt and mash with a potato masher.  Cover and set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, add maple syrup, cranberries, thyme, and 1/4 cup water.  Bring mixture to a boil on high heat; reduce to medium-low and gently simmer for 10 minutes.  Using the back of a heatproof rubber spatula, mash cranberries until all are broken up.

Trim chicken of visible fat and cut into 4 equal pieces.  Add chicken to cranberry mixture and cover skillet.  Increase heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Flip chicken and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Cut into thickest part of chicken to check for doneness; if still pink, flip chicken and cook for 2 more minutes or until chicken is opaque throughout.  Divide chicken among serving plates and top each with cranberry mixture.  Serve with squash, dividing evenly, and garnish with additional thyme.

It's an ugly meal.  Looks like something leftover from Halloween night!  But trust me, it tastes better than it looks :)

Source: Clean Eating Magazine, October 2011, page 71.

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