Winter squash are different than summer squash, but they all come from the same family. However, they were hybridized to do different things. Summer squash is full of water, tender, easy to peel and grows quickly. We use it is salads and side dishes. Winter squash, such as pumpkins, have tough skins, low moisture, and can be stored for long periods of time while nothing grows. Hence, they are winter squashes.
Summer Squash or Winter Squash?
I use mostly summer squashes in our traditional guisos here at the ranch, but I was wondering what a winter squash would taste like in a stew. I have had Morrocan-style lamb and pumpkin stews, and the pumpkin is always my favorite part. So I began to think of how I could add pumpkin to one of our go-to meals here at the ranch, and voila! A new classic.
The amount of chipotle chile that you add to this stew is variable, as you can adjust it to the level of spiciness you like. I added 1/2 cup, which maxed out our spicy tolerance. But you can opt to add just one chile. The smoky adobo sauce and heat of the chipotle is simply perfect as a sauce over the pumpkin. I noticed that this stew tamed down by the next day, and made amazing leftovers.
If you like summer squash better than winter squash, don’t hesitate to substitute one for the other in this recipe. The only difference will be the texture and flavor, but not the cooking time or amounts.
Chipotle Chicken Stew with Pumpkin is Our New Favorite
If you haven’t noticed, we make a lot of stews here at the ranch. I guess we get busy with all of the other chores we do during the course of the day, and stews are easier than frying, baking, or barbecueing. But stew in the Autumn and Winter is absolutely spot on, isn’t it?
Guiso de Pollo con Chipotle y Calabaza (Chipotle Chicken Stew with Pumpkin)
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 45 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stewing
- Cuisine: Southwest
2 tbsp. vegetable oil (30ml)
1 large onion, chopped
1 chicken, cut into pieces (4lbs/2 kg)
¼-1/2 cup canned chile chipotle en adobo
1 large tomato, skinned and seeded
2 cloves garlic
4-6 cups water or chicken broth
5-6 oz pk. uncooked fideo noodles (substitute thin spaghetti – 140gr-172gr)
4 cups diced squash or pumpkin
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced avocado for garnish
Heat the vegetable oil in a large 10” (25cm) straight sided sauté pan with a lid (note: this is my favorite pan ever!.) Add the chopped onion, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, and brown for about 15 minutes over medium heat.
While the chicken is browning, place the desired amount of chile chipotle, the tomato, garlic and 4 cups of the water into the container of a blender. Puree and set aside.
Remove the browned chicken to a separate holding plate. Add the uncooked fideo to the hot pan, and brown the noodles for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, until they are toasted. Return the browned chicken to the pan and arrange to fit with the toasted fideo. Carefully pour the chile-tomato puree into the hot pan. Add the cubes of pumpkin or squash, season with salt and pepper, and cover.
Lower the heat to simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the squash or pumpkin is tender. Check the water level as the stew cooks and add the remaining 2 cups of water if necessary.
Some people like soupier fideo, other like drier fideo. The good news is that fideo is not like rice, and adding more water during the cooking process will not ruin the texture. Feel free to experiment with the amount of water you add, but don’t let it dry out and scorch!