Slow Cooked PALEO
Winter Harvest Chicken Dinner
If you love eating seasonally and are as big of a fall and winter food enthusiast as I am, you’re going to enjoy this chicken and vegetable all-in-one meal. Hints of nutmeg, maple and cinnamon make it feel warm and cozy, and the sweetness from the butternut squash and apple are the perfect match to balance the tartness from the cranberries.
3⁄4 cup chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
2 tbsp melted ghee, homemade or store-bought
1 tbsp maple syrup (omit for sugar-free)
3 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
21⁄2 tsp garlic powder, divided
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 cups cubed butternut squash (thawed if frozen), divided
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, divided
1⁄2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced, divided
1 large or 2 small Honeycrisp apples, cored and sliced, divided
1–1 1⁄2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see Cooking Tips)
1 bay leaf
Chopped pecans or sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)
Mix together the broth, ghee, maple syrup, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of the garlic powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Next, add 3 cups of the squash to the bottom of the slow cooker and layer half of the cranberries, half of the onions and half of the apple slices on top.
Place the chicken breasts on top, resting on the layers of vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder over the chicken breasts and season with additional salt and pepper.
Add the remaining 1 cup of squash, cranberries, onions and apple on top of the chicken. Pour the broth and spice mixture over the top and place the bay leaf in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 7 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving.
This recipe freezes best prior to cooking by adding all ingredients except the broth to a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, add the broth and follow the cooking instructions.
Cooking Tips: If the chicken you use is made up of two or three really thick or large breasts, butter fly them to even out the portion sizes and ensure a consistent cook time.
For the months when cranberries aren’t in season, dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice, not sugar) or frozen cranberries will work beautifully. Swap butternut squash for cubed sweet potatoes or other seasonal produce, such as delicata squash or pumpkin.
Reprinted with permission from Slow Cooked Paleo by Bailey Fischer, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.
Photo credit: Bailey Fischer