Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel, Delicata Squash and Tomatoes

thighs3I’m turning in to a squash lady.  I’ve had more squash this fall than ever before, probably because our CSA at Middle Branch Farm gave us many varieties this year (blue hubbard, red kuri, butternut, acorn, buttercup etc).  Oh and I’ve fallen in love with kabocha squash – I could eat it daily.  So here’s yet another recipe with squash in it! Tis the season and this girl likes to eat in season when she can.

Anyhow, I feel like this isn’t really a recipe since it’s a typical type of meal for us – random vegetables and protein roasted together in one pan. Boom.  Dinner is done.  But this one was pretty tasty (thanks to flavorful fennel, garlic and the richness of chicken thighs) so I wanted to share it, again as an example of how eating whole foods and avoiding processed food doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult.  To show you that you CAN do this. This was so delicious that I ate leftovers of it for breakfast the next morning.  Yeah, eating whole foods regularly makes you opt for non-traditional breakfasty foods on a pretty regular basis.  I don’t question it, I just eat!

I actually had never had delicata squash before but I saw organic ones at the store this week and decided to buy them since you can eat the skin (yay for not cutting my fingers off!) and they’re easier to cut than other squashes.  The flavor is similar to butternut and the skin texture is similar to a thick summer squash.  You can use chicken breasts or tenders in this instead of chicken thighs but they will definitely be drier than chicken thighs.  Thighs have more fat in them (but it’s not necessarily a bad thing – they’re higher in omega 3s than lean chicken) and it keeps them tender through even long cooking time.

And as with many of the recipes you will find on this blog – don’t feel like you have to stick to the ingredient list exactly! Sub one squash for another, if you don’t have fennel, try something flavorful or crunchy like celeriac or jicama (or whatever else you like). Veggies are our friends and if you are willing to experiment you may find a new love!

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients
1.5 lbs organic boneless skinless chicken thighs (4-6 thighs)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 small delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced in 1 inch half moons
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 medium beet, peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 fennel bulb, fronds removed, sliced into 1 inch chunks
1 bell pepper, sliced into large chunks (let’s say 8-10 pieces)
6-8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 an onion, peeled
1 – 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
sea salt and black pepper

Put it on a big sheet pan.  It's ok if they're a little crowded!

Put it on a big sheet pan. It’s ok if they’re a little crowded!

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prep all your vegetables (tip: save the fennel fronds and freeze to add to homemade broth later!) and lay them on a cookie sheet with the chicken thighs.  No need to trim the fat if organic (unless they are overly fatty or not organic).  The fat will add a lot of flavor to this dish.  Pour the melted coconut oil over the vegetables and chicken and quickly toss with your hands to coat.  Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. It’s like a bowl of warm, earthy fall goodness!

Serve with a side of cooked or raw greens!

Yummy fall dinner!

Yummy fall dinner!

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