116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
One of my favorite things to do as a home cook is experiment in the kitchen.
I rarely look up recipes or follow instructions. Dinners at our house are typically either a culmination of everything I already had in the fridge or inspired by the produce that caught my eye during my most recent shopping trip.
This month’s recipe is just that. Inspired by the fall produce that now lines the shelves of my local grocery store, and created for an early “friendsgiving” dinner.
I always get excited when I see the display of squashes make its return each fall. I love cooking with squash, which to me delivers the same satisfaction that potatoes give with a little hint of flavor and sweetness.
When faced with a choice between chicken breasts or thighs, I always go for the latter. Chicken thighs are much easier to keep moist in the cooking process, and also have more natural flavor.
In this recipe I use boneless and skinless for the sake of cooking time, but bone-in thighs are also fantastic if you have the time to wait.
Kielbasa is just delicious and I knew this dish needed a little more fat to boost the flavor profile. The cranberries are there to balance this fat and add a pop of sweet and sour to this savory dish.
This recipe marks a turning point in the Bite of Brazil column. I have been writing this column for more than two years now and I wanted a chance to share some of my own recipes, which are not always particularly Brazilian. Still, every time I cook a meal I find myself employing skills and philosophies I learned from the matriarchs of my family. In that way, these recipes I develop are always a bite of Brazil.
Follow Alexandra Olsen on Instagram, @TheHungryGaucha.
Chicken, Kielbasa and Butternut Squash Medley
2 large red onions, cubed
1 butternut squash, cubed
5 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs
2 kielbasa sausages, sliced into medallions
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons ground sage
2 tablespoons ground paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together red onions and squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon each of sage, paprika and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste, I like using cayenne powder on the veggies.
Spread veggies on a large sheet pan and place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare your chicken with the rest of the seasoning. Then, take the veggies out and place chicken on top before returning to the oven for another 15 minutes. When these 15 minutes are up, take the tray out of the oven and spread cranberries and kielbasa over the top. Return to the oven one more time for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cranberries burst and the sausage looks slightly browned.
Serve with wild rice and baby kale.
Source: Alexandra Olsen