Chicken and Squash Stew

When I lived in South Texas I learned how to make delicious Mexican dishes from local women of Hispanic origin. One dish I grew to love was Chicken and Squash Stew. I like this dish because it's easy to make, packed with nutricious vegetables, is low in fat, and delicious. You can serve it over a grain or not, whichever you choose.

Chicken and Squash Stew Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 lbs skinless and boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into bite sized pieces

1 large sweet onion

1 Poblano pepper chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 ears of sweet corn cut from the cob

4 zucchini cut in half lengthwise then into half moons 1/2 inch thick

4 yellow squash cut in half lengthwise then into half moons 1/2 inch thick

1 minched serrano chile of dried chile flake to spice up stew (Optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro to garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven to medium high. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and saute in batches without overcrowding to allow for browning. When browned on all sides remove the chicken from the skillet and repeat with remaining chicken. Set chicken aside.

Add onions, and peppers to the pot and saute in remaining fat until it begins to brown and get tender. Add garlic and spices and continue to cook for a minute or two. Add chopped tomatoes, corn, both squashes and 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Stir to blend flavors and push the squash down into the liquid. Cover the pot and turn the heat to low allowing the squash to cook slowly and soften. When the squash is tender check for seasoning. You may want to add to the spiciness of the dish by adding a minced serrano chile or some chile flake if you like.

Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the stew and mix in thoroughly.

Cover the pot again and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Serve in soup bowls with a grain or by itself if you're watching carbs.

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