Roasted Chicken Breast with Creamy Butternut Squash and Chilies

Jaime Oliver_Chicken and Butternut and Jools favorite stew, butternut

When I make dishes that are really good and really easy, I wish I could go back in time and tell my 25-year-old self that there’s no need to overdo it. I’m specifically referring to the time I invited my family over to my Baltimore loft for Christmas dinner and went perfectly mad when I tried to cook about 8 dishes for my little dinner party of 5. It was a rookie mistake, and I learned my lesson that night with a little help from my husband, who rescued me despite the fact that I had been cooking all Christmas day and had barely spoken to him.

 

Jaime Oliver_Chicken and Butternut and Jools favorite stew, chickenIt was a bad scene folks. I think I got every single recipe for that dinner from Martha Stewart (whose recipes I generally like, but they can be just a tad complicated). And I didn’t begin cooking until that morning. I think I made three different kinds of cookies (sugar, gingerbread, and peanut butter blossom), several ridiculously intricate side dishes that included things like homemade breaded and fried onions (because what would Martha say if you didn’t make your own!?), and sweet potato casserole, which I had never made before (I don’t think I had ever roasted a sweet potato in my life). Five minutes before my family was to arrive, and realizing my dining room did NOT look like the cover of Martha Stewart Living, I completely lost it.

 

Jaime Oliver_Chicken and Butternut and Jools favorite stew, before cookingAs my little homemade onions, which were to go on my undercooked green bean casserole (with homemade lumpy mushroom sauce!) burned and I started to cry, Glenn (who had not yet married and me and probably was beginning to have second thoughts about it) came to the rescue. “Do you really need the onions?” He said calmly. “YES!” I whined. “Kelsey,” he asked again, slowly, “Do. You. Need. The. Onions?” (Anti-Martha Stewart!) “No,” I said, sadly, but knowing they couldn’t–they wouldn’t–be spared. He threw their sorry charred selves in the trash. “Do you really need the maple glaze for the turkey?” He asked, pointing to the not-yet-in-the-saucepan maple syrup and glancing at the 30-45 minute cooking instructions. Sensing that this was a rhetorical question, I answered the most defeated “No” I could muster. I watched him put the maple syrup back in the cabinet as the little Martha Stewart on my shoulder shuddered and let out an audible “humph!”

Granted, my mom had made perfect Thanksgiving turkey for decades with no fancy maple glaze. But I thought I could do it better. Well, thank goodness for my kind family and soon-to-be husband. They didn’t say a word about it (though Glenn does like to tease me about it to this day). Gloppy mushroom sauce, stringy sweet potato casserole, overcooked turkey, and an exhausted me. (I will say that the gingerbread cookies were AWEsome.)

Jaime Oliver_Chicken and Butternut and Jools favorite stew

Unlike that hot mess, this is a perfect weeknight meal. It’s quick, it’s easy, and there’s not much to clean up.

The butternut squash, with the addition of the cream, becomes tender and, well, creamy. The seasonings on the chicken are light and tasty, and leaving the skin on means the chicken comes out moist.

And the best part is that your partner will not have to rescue you.

 

 

 

Roasted Chicken Breast with Creamy Butternut Squash and Chilies (adapted slightly from Jamie Oliver’s recipe)

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts (bone in, skin on)

2 red chilies (I used jalapeño)

3 or 4 sage leaves, chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg (or however much you like)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Put chicken breasts in a bowl. Deseed and slice chilies and add them to the bowl with a few sprigs of chopped, fresh sage. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss together and set aside.

Carefully slice a medium butternut squash into quarters. Remove the seeds and slice 2 quarters of the squash as thinly as possible (I didn’t use all of the second quarter. Just use what will fit in your baking dish).

Place each chicken breast and flavorings snugly in an aluminum foil “bowl” sitting in a medium baking dish. Place the squash slices around the chicken breasts snugly.

Pour the cream around the squash slices (not on the chicken). Season with grated nutmeg, sea salt, and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in the center of the oven for 35-40minutes.

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3 Comments

  1. Mom said,

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    hahahaha I remember that day well. Your eyes were flipping and you looked exhausted but all turned out well. But I also remember I baked (slaved over) a pumpkin pie recipe of Emeril’s and it was very complicated and turned out not too tasty. Oh how we learn from our experiments. Sometimes it’s best to stick to the traditional!!

  2. Leslie Anne said,

    October 23, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Oh dear heavens, that sounds even more delicious than it looks, and believe me, your photographs are superb!

    And isn’t it always best to try out new dishes on your family rather than on friends? Family is soooo much more forgiving! Okay, maybe not so much on Thanksgiving day; at least not ALL the dishes! I did do that with my family at Thanksgiving one year. I ran across a jalapeno-smoked turkey (which was soooo good!) and I added some minced & seeded jalapeno to my dressing, and then some chopped cilantro to my cranberry conserve. (I’ve lived in the Houston, TX area for over 30 years now, but grew up in the Baltimore, MD area for 19 yrs & still am such a baby when it comes to hot stuff!) I enjoyed it all, but I’m the only one who eats the conserve and my husband and sons probably couldn’t taste the jalapeno in the dressing because they love things REALLY hot! But that turkey – it lives on in my memory, because I can’t find them anymore! I guess I could inject a butter & jalapeno marinade into a regular one. I’m in the planning stages of Thanksgiving dinner right now, trying to track down all my recipes (let’s just say my filing system is non-existent at this time.)

    Keep trying new things! Leslie Anne

  3. Stephanie Nelson said,

    October 23, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    This sounds yummy! I’ll have to head to the store tomorrow and pick up what I need to make this. Thanks for the great pictures… as I was reading through the directions I was wondering what an aluminum foil bowl would look like. =)
    Hopefully I’ll have something to post tomorrow after dinner! I’m looking forward to making it!


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