Kid-friendly chicken, pumpkin and apple stew
Another parenting triumph. In the nanosecond that I wasn't watching, Belle introduced herself to the nutritional delights of escargot in the garden. Kids are disgusting. Picking a half-masticated snail out of the teeth of my littlest was not the way I envisaged ending my day. It did however persuade me to up my game in the kitchen. Although snails pack a powerful punch when it comes to protein and good fats, I won't be serving them up deliberately any time soon. Instead, I have spent the evening making batches of Belle's favourites for the freezer. Perhaps if I can stuff her full at dinner she won't start hunting in the hedge for snacks before bedtime.
First up, I made an apple crumble using agave syrup and molasses as sweeteners instead of regular sugar. I also threw the Linwood's ground flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and goji berry mix into the oaty crumble topping. I would love to give you the recipe but it was very much a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. So, with my column deadline looming, I sensibly wrote down the ingredients of the next culinary masterpiece (I do use that term loosely.)
Chloe has always loved the combination of chicken, pumpkin and apple first as a puree and now as a stew. Fortunately Belle likes it too and I will forever be grateful for having kids that eat roughly the same thing. This recipe is great for warming everyone up at the end of a damp, rainy day. Pumpkin is in season at the moment so right now is the time to make a few batches and stock this in your freezer. It's super quick and easy to do. It goes well with pasta, mash, quinoa, baked potatoes or rice so you can serve it multiple ways. Enjoy!
1 tbs olive or safflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 chicken breasts (preferably organic), chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 large piece pumpkin (approx 2lbs before chopping), peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 large apple, peeled and chopped into chunks
10 fl oz low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
4 fl oz apple juice
2 bay leaves
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
2. Place the onions and oil in a medium-sized casserole dish over a low-medium heat. Stir to coat the onions in the oil, cover and allow the onions to “sweat” for a minute or two.
3. When the onions are tender, add the chicken, pumpkin and apple. Stir.
4. Add the stock, apple juice and bay leaves. Stir. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
5. As soon as it boils, cover almost completely, but off-setting the lid leaving a 1cm gap. Pop in the oven for 25 mins.
6. Check the chicken pieces are completely cooked through. Remove the bay leaves.
7. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tbs water into a milky solution.
8. Off the heat, but whilst still piping hot, stir through the cornstarch solution and stir until the sauce thickens. Some of the pumpkin should also break down into the sauce giving it a rich texture.
The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.