Thursday, January 22, 2009

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette and Chicken with Lime Sauce

In an effort to prevent any sudden outbreak of scurvy, we dosed ourselves heavily with lime juice last night. The acorn squash recipe was gleaned from a blog I read called traveler's lunchbox. Who in turn found it in Gourmet Magazine. Tasty way to prepare acorn squash and I don't know if we were supposed to, but we ate the skins right along with the squash (so make sure you wash them well). I halved the recipe, using only one squash, but made up almost the full amount of the vinaigrette (with less oil)...using the remainder on our salad.

The chicken is just sauteed up then finished with an easy pan sauce. A Cooking Light recipe that calls for using chicken breasts that have been pounded to 1/4" thickness, I used chicken tenders to cut that step out. I usually serve the chicken with cumin roasted potatoes and it's a great combo. Guess I'd better post about those sometime! I just looked at the comments on the chicken recipe at Cooking Light's site and found that people that weren't as into acidic sauces had a problem with the sauce, but others looooved it. So, judge for yourself. Me and tart are good friends...

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette:
(found on travelerslunchbox's blog...Source: adapted from Gourmet, October 2006)

2 large (1 1/2-1 3/4-lb/650-800g) acorn squash
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (90ml) olive oil (probably used less)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot red chile, including seeds (I used a serrano pepper)
small handful chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Halve each squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard stem ends. Scrape out the seeds and cut the squash lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide wedges. Toss the squash with black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil in a bowl, then arrange, cut sides down, on the baking sheets. Roast the squash, switching the position of pans halfway through roasting, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 30-40 minutes.

While the squash roasts, mash the garlic finely with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a mortar (or side of your knife on your cutting board). Transfer the paste to a small bowl and whisk in lime juice, honey, chile (to taste), cilantro, and remaining oil until combined. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lime juice as needed. Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Chicken with Lime Sauce:
(Cooking Light)

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I can fit a whole package of tenders in one pan, but when I use pounded chicken breasts I have to cook only 2 at a time.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar, or sucanat
3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch (I usually use more, but forgot last night...a little thicker sauce is much nicer)
1 tablespoon butter

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap (or ziplock bag); pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add chicken broth, sugar, 2 tablespoons juice, and mustard to pan; cook over medium heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; stir well with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens slightly. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and butter, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken to pan; simmer 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated.

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