A spicy and fragrant mix of roasted butternut squash and chicken. A light and healthy weeknight supper.
What do you turn to for your week night suppers? What can you be bothered to throw together, when you’ve barely got the energy to move off the sofa, and put on the pyjamas you know would be far more comfortable than the work clothes you’ve been in all day? How do you make sure you’re getting a decent meal in you when all you fancy is a big, greasy, stodgy slice of pizza?
What you need is an arsenal of quick, tasty meals that you know you’ll love every time you make them. There has been critisim over the way most people rotate through the same few meals every week, and rarely try anything new. Now, I’m all for trying out new recipes, but on a Thursday night, when the weekend still seems about 30 million years away, something new and novel is not what we need. We don’t want to be following instructions, or measuring out hundreds of ingredients, or scouring our cupboards only to find we didn’t buy the one, oh so vital ingredient. Thursday night is not a time when we need to decide whether the recipe can work without that said ingredient, or if we can steal ourselves to take off our slippers and head out once more to the shops.
No, I see nothing wrong in having a solid collection of week night meals that you can throw together without thinking. That require little to no measuring or accuracy, and do all the work of cooking by themselves.
This is where this recipe comes in. This is one of the meals we’ve been eating quite regularly lately. Its simple to make, and all the work is done by the oven. Chop everything up, throw it together, and less than an hour later sit down to a delicious, nourishing meal.
The butternut squash gives it a hearty, sustaining feel, but in reality it is light and packed full of goodness. The secret recipe is the harissa paste; a beautiful blend of North African spices. It brings heat, a warmth deep flavour, and fragrant notes that round off the dish. If you prefer milder tastes, try using rose harissa, which uses rose petals for less heat and more of an aromatic flavour.
The amount here will serve two in a generous heaped portion, or stretch it out to serve four with brown rice, or steaming bowls of cous cous. Either way, serve it with plenty of natural yoghurt swirled with a little more harissa.
– Serves 2, as a meal in itself, or 4 if served with rice or cous cous.
– I used this harissa paste. It also works really nicely with rose harissa, for a milder, more fragrant taste.
- half a butternut squash
- 1 red onion
- 1 red pepper
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- 4 - 5 tablespoons harissa paste
- olive oil
- sea salt
- yoghurt, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ 350F.
- Peel and deseed the butternut squash. Cut into 1 inch square chunks. Put onto a large baking tray, or oven dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.
- Put into the preheated oven, and bake for about 20 minutes, until the squash is just starting to colour.
- While the squash is in the oven, prepare your remaining ingredients. Chop the red onion into large chunks. Cut the red pepper into long, thick strips, and cut the chicken breasts into large chunks. Add them, along with the garlic, to the tray with the squash. Stir everything together, and add a little more olive oil and seasoning if required.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and starting to brown.
- Stir in 4 - 5 tablespoons harissa paste. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes.
- Serve with plenty of yoghurt.