Squash, Quinoa + Kale Stew

squash, kale and quinoa stew

It is no secret that I love fall. It’s not that I wish summer away because I know that with fall, winter comes all too quickly. I just love everything about the season and find that at this time of year it is so close I can’t wait for it. While most people were hanging on to the last few days of summer last week I was in a full-blown fall mindset. I got my first pumpkin spice latte, football was in the air with the Bills last preseason game, I started working on my Fall Inspirations pinterest board and I started trying out new recipes! I feel like summer is being constantly on-the-go and being in a hot kitchen isn’t my idea of a good time so I love the “slow-down” of the fall. I put that in quotes because this is the busiest time of year for me because I not only have my normal work schedule, each Sunday until the football season is over is now filled up as well. With all that being said I still feel most inspired in the fall and find it so much easier to make time to bake, cook, craft + decorate. 

second view of stew

We had a colder day last week and I had been wanting to make a fall style stew since last year. My husband was working late and I decided to stop home on the way in from work and grab whatever caught my eye to add to this recipe. I wanted something that incorporated some fall veggies (butternut squash + parsnips) with some nutritionally power packed ingredients (kale + quinoa) with some flavorful spices and the usually suspects for a stew. I poached chicken breasts in the chicken broth to add some more flavor before shredding it and the parsley added at the end brightens everything up.

squash quinoa + kale stew

The great thing about this is that it makes a ton of stew + it tastes even better the next day because the quinoa soaks up all the flavors from the stew as it sits overnight. You could make this on a Sunday night and then enjoy it all week long!

Start off by peeling and scooping the seeds out of a 2 lb butternut squash. Cut into bite sized cubes and put in to a steamer basket with simmering water. Steam for about two minutes and then add in 1 parsnip that’s also been peeled and cut in to cubes. Steam for 10 minutes. Remove half of the steamed squash + parsnip and put it in a bowl. Steam the remaining half for about 5 more minutes. Mash the  squash and parsnip that you steamed longer with a fork until it’s more of a puree. Set both the cubed + steamed mix and the pureed mix aside.

Steaming Squash + ParsnipWhile that’s steaming, you can bring 32 oz chicken broth to a simmer in a medium sauce pan. Carefully place 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts into the simmering broth, cover + let poach for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth, remove the broth from heat and set aside. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with two forks + set aside.

poaching chicken

Once you have your extra components prepped (you could do this all ahead of time too!), heat a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add in 1 minced garlic clove and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in 1 chopped yellow onion, 2 stalks diced celery + 1 diced green bell pepper. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Rip up 2 large kale leaves into small pieces and add to the pot. Cook everything for about 4 minutes more. Add in 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp dried oregano + 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper. Stir everything together and then add 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes, the pureed squash + parsnip mixture and the steamed cubes as well. Stir everything gently until combined then pour in the chicken broth.

starting the stew

Bring the whole mixture to a simmer and stir in 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa. Simmer for 20 minutes until the quinoa is cooked.

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Now you can add in your shredded chicken and a handful of freshly chopped parsley. Cook for a few minutes until the chicken is heated through and serve!

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Squash, Quinoa + Kale Stew

Serves 6-8 generously

1 two pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded + cut into bite sized cubes

1 parnsip, peeled + cut into bite sized pieces

32 oz chicken broth

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 large kale leaves, torn into small pieces

1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 uncooked quinoa

handful parsley, chopped

Put squash in to a steamer basket with simmering water. Steam for about two minutes and then add in the parsnip. Steam for 10 minutes. Remove half of the steamed squash + parsnip and put it in a bowl. Steam the remaining half for about 5 more minutes. Mash the  squash and parsnip that you steamed longer with a fork until it’s more of a puree. Set both the cubed + steamed mix and the pureed mix aside. While that’s steaming, you can bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium sauce pan. Carefully place the chicken into the simmering broth, cover + let poach for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth, remove the broth from heat and set aside. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with two forks + set aside.

Once you have your extra components prepped (you could do this all ahead of time too!), heat a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Add in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the onion, celery + pepper. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add the kale to the pot. Cook everything for about 4 minutes more. Add in cinnamon, salt, oregano + black pepper. Stir everything together and then add the tomatoes, the pureed squash + parsnip mixture and the steamed cubes as well. Stir everything gently until combined then pour in the chicken broth.

Bring the whole mixture to a simmer and stir in the quinoa. Simmer for 20 minutes until the quinoa is cooked. Now you can add in your shredded chicken and the parsley.  Cook for a few minutes until the chicken is heated through and serve!

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