I’m reinventing a classic with this chicken and squash stew with cranberries. In the spirit of all things seasonal, I decided to use what I had on hand to make myself a nice, comforting dinner after a hard day.
I confess, chicken soup rarely excites me even though it always satisfies me and gives me super powers when I’m feeling off. So, why am I sharing this recipe?
Frankly, I’ve never had chicken soup quite like this before. Ingredients like carnival squash, brussel sprouts, and wild rice don’t usually come to mind when I think of chicken soup. Yet, they work fabulously! With the rainy, cold weather we’ve been having, it was time to take it easy and slurp the night away in front of a Netflix Christmas movie.
Like most of my recipe inspiration, the idea for this soup came from a conversation. On Thanksgiving, we got to eat more cranberry stuff than usual; there was my mom’s cranberry salad, my cousin’s cranberry salsa, and my sister’s cranberry custard pie. With all the fresh cranberries, we all got to talking about how much we love the taste of fresh cranberries, each of us realizing that we need to eat more every day (not just on Thanksgiving).
Determined to save my cranberries from the trash this year, I scandalously roasted them and tossed them in my soup pot.
I was stunned by the result. The soup is really good on its own, but the cranberries bring it to life. So much so, that I roasted a second batch just to add more.
The tart flavor really pops against the savory chicken broth. What I love most about this kind of 1 pot dinner is that it’s healthy and light, yet flavorful and elegant. It doesn’t hurt that I got to eat it as leftovers for 3 days straight.
Serve this for a casual meal, or add an herb garnish and it makes an elegant meal. Still have leftover turkey or a rotisserie chicken? Both work well here. As with most soup recipes, feel free to chop rustically and adjust the amount of broth to your liking.
Chicken Squash Stew with Cranberries
- 1 gallon chicken stock
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 carnival or delicatta squash, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup brussel sprouts, sliced thickly
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 stick celery, sliced
- 2 whole chicken breasts or thighs
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, add the chicken stock and wild rice and bring to a simmer. Cover loosely with a lid, allowing some steam to escape and lower the heat to continue to simmer until the wild rice is soft--45 minutes to 1 hour.Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Use a large bowl to toss the squash, brussel sprouts, and thyme with just enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes until golden brown. Toss and add the cranberries for an additional 5 minutes of roasting--the cranberries will soften and the sugars will caramelize. Transfer roasted vegetables to the soup pot along with the onion, carrot, and celery.
If using cooked chicken, shred and add at the end just to warm. To use raw chicken, cut into 1" pieces and simmer for 5 minutes until just cooked through.