Chicken Breast with Squash & Beet Greens

Soooo… I’ve been throwing away beet greens for years, not knowing how amazing they are! Put up your hand if do that or have done that! Oh… am I the only one?

Until just this year, I hadn’t known that I could cook them. And now its like this huge discovery. I keep trying to figure out ways to incorporate them into meals, with or without the beets! You should really try them if you haven’t. They remind me of swiss chard, so if you are a fan you’ll like beet greens.

One of my favourite ways to cook chicken breast is pan fried in olive oil. Skin on is a must. I try to make it all fancy sometimes by combining side dish flavours that will match with chicken, and layering it all together, you know… all fancy like. But S is like, why is the squash touching the chicken? He’s weird like that.

This dish is soooooo good. The sweet from the butternut squash with the slight bitterness form the beet greens and the savoury crispy chicken. Yum. And yes, that is one massive chicken breast. Got to love those Amish free-range organic chickens.

If you’ve ever cooked butternut squash and peeled it, this is the recipe for you. No peeling, no cut fingers, no fumbling. Just cut in half (which is sometimes a chore in itself), place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast. You can just scoop it right out of the skin, super easy. And the flavour of roasting it, in my opinion, is way better then stovetop could ever handle. I like to purée the squash, the texture just becomes so silky. And don’t be shy with the butter ;) I’ve also used roasted sweet potato to replace the butternut squash.

I had some beet greens left over from that Raw Beet, Carrot and Cabbage Coleslaw with Onions. This is a great recipe to use up those beet greens that you have sitting around wilting (don’t throw them away – so yummy!). You can use beet greens as a substitute for swiss chard or even spinach. Chopping them and putting them in a soup  with some white cannellini beans would be yummy too. I’ve also made a roasted beet and beet green salad before with avocado and a tahini dressing. To die for. I will post the recipe next time I make it!

Chicken Breast with  Squash & Beet Greens

Serves 2

For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts, skin on, bones removed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the butternut squash:
1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whole milk or cream (add more if purée is too dry)
salt to taste
1 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup

For the beet greens:
1 bunch of healthy looking beet greens, (you could use swiss chard or spinach instead) stalks removed and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F.

With a sturdy knife, cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and membrane and place cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast for 45-60 minutes or until the butternut squash can easily be pierced with a knife.

Once the squash is done, cook the chicken, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat.

Dry chicken breasts with a towel or paper towel. Salt and pepper both sides generously. Place in pan skin side down. Fry until skin is crispy, flip and cook the other side until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside on the cutting board once its done, covered with foil to rest.

While the chicken is frying, scoop the squash flesh out of the skin and place in a small saucepan with the butter, milk (or cream), salt and brown sugar (or maple syrup). Heat on med-low until the mixture is hot and the butter and sugar is melted. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender (or put into a blender and return to pot). Turn down to very low heat and keep covered until chicken and greens are done.

For the greens, heat another pan with about 1 tbsp olive oil. Wash the beet greens, remove the stalks and chop up the leaves. Fry the garlic in the oil until fragrant but not browned. Add the leaves to the pan, sprinkle with salt, and gently toss in the garlic and oil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Add more salt if needed.

Slice up the chicken. On a plate, spoon the squash purée into a mound, top with the greens and place the sliced chicken on top.