This is one of those homey comforting meals that these chillier fall days are made for. It is humble as chicken is but its flavour is impeccable with notes of ginger, garlic, honey and thyme taking centre stage. It came about because I was craving honey garlic chicken wings one Sunday and thought why couldn’t I just make one whole chicken instead of a bunch of different wings. The butternut squash was added to keep the chicken moist as well as to make it an entire meal.
It is perfect for those afternoons you don’t want to have to worry about dinner, you just throw everything into a roasting pan and call it a day. Throw on your mittens and scarf, walk around the neighbourhood and come back to the warmest, most fragrant home on the block. That actually sounds like my perfect Sunday, full of ease, simplicity, and comfort. The butternut squash really does do an amazing job at keeping the chicken super moist and adds a whole lot of flavour as well and it pairs perfectly with the garlic and ginger, a sweet and creamy combination.
Obviously it only being Paul and I we had leftovers so the next morning we made butternut squash patties with chicken, gravy and an egg on top, baked it and called it breakfast. It might have even been better than the meal the night before, maybe, well I don’t know actually both were pretty outstanding. But seriously if you do want to make them just mash some of the leftover butternut squash into a one inch thick patty, in a large cast iron pan with some butter places the patties down and brown on each side. Chop up some of the chicken and add it on top of the patty, bake it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. While its baking fry an egg separately and add after the patty and chicken are warmed up. Its really a great breakfast and a great way to use up the leftovers. Or you know you could just throw them in a container as is and bring them for lunch.
I have done a lot of roast chickens in my day but I must say this one is my favourite thus far. The butternut squash is creamy and fragrant, the chicken, like I said is moist and full of gingery, garlicky flavour. The honey and thyme meld everything together and the gravy, the gravy might just be the star. All of these flavours once simmered and sautéed together into the gravy make it extra extra special. I know most pan dripping gravies are good but this one, this one is really really good. It’s hard to explain but I think the ginger, just adds a lil’ some’em some’em.
It was actually so good we ended up making this back to back weekends, which we don’t do very often. I also made a version of this dish for Thanksgiving (just this past weekend) but instead of using a chicken we used a ham and it was equally as delicious, so can you switch them out one for one. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your ham. We cooked our 5 pound ham for three hours at 325 and added in the squash into the roasting pan during the last hour.
We are supposed to be getting a huge storm here on the west coast this weekend, which I am weirdly excited about. It was supposed to start this morning but so far it has been slightly disappointing (I may be eating my words come Saturday when it is supposed to be at its strongest), with just a touch of rain. But I am preparing anyway with some soups in mind and maybe some comfort baking. I want to remake those plump peanut butter cookies I shared on Instagram a couple of weeks ago
I absolutely love storms, I grew up in Alberta and we would get the best storms. Ones where thunder would rock the entire house and lighting with hit and the entire sky would be lit. There is something so romantic about them (as long as no one gets hurt of course) they make me want to just live by the fire, wrapped in a cozy knit, sipping hot cocoa and playing board games by candlelight or watching old classic movies, if the power is stable. For some reason our power goes out every time there is a huge windstorm, which is kinda weird because we don't live in the total boonies, but I suppose we are up on a higher hill so maybe it is guster. Either way I prepare for both scenarios.
If you do have power though this chicken would be the ultimate in comfort eats over the weekend and you will have leftovers for the next day making it easy peasy if the power does go out!
honey garlic roast chicken + creamy butternut squash
1 whole roasting chicken
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 inch ginger
¼ cup butter
Salt and pepper
Butternut squash ingredients:
2 small butternut squashes
2 tbsp honey
4 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
5 cloves of garlic
½ inch ginger
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Stuff the inside of the chicken with the onion (chopped), garlic, ginger and thyme sprigs. Gently loosen the chicken skin and evenly stuff the butter under the skin. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
On the stove in a large roasting pan or cocotte on high heat, melt some olive oil and butter (about 2 tbsp of each) brown all sides of the chicken. Turn the chicken top up and place in the oven uncovered.
Peel the butternut squash with a potato peeler, de-seed it and cut it into large chunks. In a large bowl add the squash and toss with all of the other ingredients. When there is about 30 minutes left on the chicken place the seasoned squash around the sides of the chicken.
This chicken will take between 50-60 minutes.
for the sauce:
Finely mince the ginger and garlic. In a small sauce pan add all of the ingredients and bring to a slight boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until it thickens slightly.
15 minutes before the chicken is ready pour the sauce over the chicken making sure to get all the ginger and garlic bits onto the chicken. You can pour some of the sauce onto the squash as well.
for the gravy:
Once the chicken is done, take it out of the roasting pan and let it rest for 5-8 minutes. Scoop the butternut squash out onto a serving dish and place the roasting pan on the stove burner on medium heat.
Mix 3 tbsp of cornstarch with a cup of water and whisk into the pan drippings. Keep whisking until the drippings and cornstarch mixture start to make a thick gravy. Simmer for about 5 minutes then pour into a serving dish.