Kabocha squash is a squash that is available year round. It's more commonly found in Asian markets as it's a native Japanese squash but its popularity has spread and can be found in most specialty grocery stores. Think of it as a pumpkin and sweet potato love child and my favorite part? You can eat the skin!
Winter usually puts me in a braising mood -- the smells of chicken and garlic simmering on a stove is one of those nostalgic scents that brings me closer to those childhood memories of cooking with my mom.
This recipe is relatively straightforward though a little bit more fussy ingredient wise but I promise the trouble will be worth it. I pray for leftovers because that means a myriad of tasty options. Shred any leftover chicken and individually package in ziplock bags. Just heat as needed throughout the week. The leftover squash can be enjoyed cold or reheated in soup or even mashed as a spread for a wrap or sandwich. The squash really soaks up the braising juices from the chicken and did I mention you can eat the skin?? One less step in the kitchen is always a good thing!
BRAISED KABOCHA SQUASH AND CHICKEN
(makes 3-4 servings)
- 1 package of chicken thighs/wings (around 1 1/2 - 2 pounds)
- 1 TB peanut oil
- 1/2 white onion, roughly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 kabocha squash, pitted, cleaned and sliced into 1" cubes
- 6-8 shishito peppers or mild chile peppers
- 1/8 cup dry cooking wine or Shaoxing wine
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1 TB fish sauce (omit if you do not have this)
- 2 cups water
- 1 TB brown sugar
- green scallion and cilantro for garnish
- salt to taste
In a medium or large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and slightly caramelize over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, squash, peppers and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add cooking wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and water. Add the chicken, making sure the meat is completely submerged in the braising liquid. Add more water if needed.
Cook for 20-25 minutes until the chicken and squash are tender. Serve with steamed grains like quinoa, barley or brown rice or a side of steamed bok choy.
Leftovers usually taste better because the flavors are able to settle in and develop a little further. Any extras can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Here's a great guide on how to cook the perfect medium boiled egg via Bon Appetit.