This is a wonderfully easy one pot family recipe and combines many of the key ingredients in our essential shopping basket (see more below).
Not only is it packed full of immune boosting ingredients, you can simply pop all the ingredients in one pot, allowing you time to focus on other things. It is full of seasonal wintery goodness, including butternut squash (packed with vitamin C and antioxidant beta-carotene) and iron-rich leafy green kale.
Brown rice is a useful source of fibre to aid healthy digestion and provides nutrients such as iron, magnesium and B vitamins for energy. Chicken is of course a great source of protein – important for growth and repair, particularly after a bout of illness.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 chicken thighs, with skin
- 150g brown rice
- 400ml fresh chicken stock, ideally homemade
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1 small butternut squash (approx 5-600g, see note on what to do with extras), cut into inch cubes/bite sized pieces
- 60g kale, roughly chopped
- Place a casserole dish (with a well-fitting lid) onto a medium high heat, add the oil and heat.
- Next, season the chicken pieces with salt and place into the pan skin side down – try not to over crowd the pan. If you think it’s going to be a squeeze, you can do it in batches. It will take about 5-10 minutes to get a lovely brown crispiness to the skin.
- Remove the chicken pieces and set aside on a plate while you assemble the rest of the dish. Remember at this stage the chicken is not cooked, just browned – the more you brown your meat the more flavour you will bring to your dish.
- Add the sliced onion to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes until they have lost their raw edge but are still not cooked through.
- Add the sliced garlic and mix for up to a minute. If the pan is looking at all dry at this stage add a small splash of water to prevent the onions sticking.
- Next, stir through the butternut squash pieces, kale and rice. Mix everything together, coating with the oil and flavours in the pan.
- Make sure your pan is not too hot, then pour in the chicken stock.
- Place the chicken pieces on top, slightly submerged in the stock, vegetable and rice mix.
- Bring the stock up to a boil first, and then down to a gentle simmer before adding the fitted lid and leaving it to cook gently for 30-40 minutes.
- When you lift the lid the rice should look full and soft and the butternut squash is tender and cooked through. Always test your chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Pile up your bowl, placing your chicken thigh on the top (for small children its easier to cut this into little pieces and stir through).
STOCK – It really is worthwhile (and pretty easy) to make your own stock by cooking down chicken bones after a roast with an onion, celery and carrot submerged in water on a gentle simmer for a few hours. (You can add parsley, peppercorns and other herbs to taste, if desired). It is deeply nutritious and freezes brilliantly so it’s always worth having some handy to add to your favourite recipes.