CIAO BELLA CHICKEN AND ACORN SQUASH SHEET PAN DINNER

CIAO BELLA CHICKEN AND ACORN SQUASH SHEET PAN DINNER


The Chicken:

1 5-6 pound chicken

1 lemon, cut into quarters

8 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Spice Blend


The Squash:

1 large acorn squash

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 Tbs. olive oil

¼ cup butter

1 leek, chopped (white and green parts, about 1 cup)

4 large garlic cloves

1/4-1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Remove the gizzard package from inside the chicken and discard (or save to make stock).  Remove any excess fat and rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Squeeze the lemon juice into the cavity and then push the squeezed pieces and the fresh thyme into the cavity.  The lemon pieces and thyme will steam inside the chicken and give it bright flavor.


Place the chicken ‘breast-side-down’ on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with half the olive oil.  Sprinkle half of the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and rub the seasonings and oil all over the bottom of the bird.  Flip to ‘breast-side-up’ and repeat with the oil and seasonings on the top side.  Your hands will have a lot of seasoning on them after doing this.  Slip your fingers between the meat and skin on the top of the breast and create a thin cavity and rub any remaining seasoning between the meat and skin.


Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out of the cavity with a spoon and discard. Place each half of squash, face up on the baking sheet with the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil, especially on edges.


Sauté leeks and garlic in butter until soft and translucent.  Transfer cooked leeks and garlic into the squash cavities and top equally with the parmesan.  Pour the cream over the parmesan until the cavities are almost completely fully.  Stir gently with a spoon to combine.


Place the baking sheet with the chicken and squash in the oven and cook for 1 ½ - 1 ¾ hours until the juices of the chicken run clear at the base of the thigh by the breast when pierced with a knife and the squash is very tender when pierced with a fork.  Depending on the size of your chicken and squash, timing may vary so start checking at 1 ½ hours to test for doneness.  If the top of the cream on the squash begins to get very browned, stir lightly or top with foil.


Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board to rest and set the squash aside, tenting everything with foil to keep warm.  Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes so the juices can redistribute before carving – do not skip this step as it is very important for a moist bird!!


To make gravy, drain the juices on the sheet pan into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Make a slurry by combining ¼ cup of flour with 1 cup of water in a jar and shake until the flour is dissolved. Gradually whisk the slurry into the pan juices until they begin to thicken.  Depending on the amount of pan juices you may not need all of the slurry.  If the gravy is too thick, you can add more water until desired thickness.  If too thin, add more slurry.  Season to taste with salt.


Carve the chicken into slices, pieces and serve topped with gravy - do NOT throw the chicken carcass out as it will make great soup later.  You can freeze the carcass for up to 3 months and pull it out on a snowy day when soup is in the forecast!


To serve the squash, gently mix the soft squash with the creamy mixture in the center.  The squash shells will act like serving vessels or you can transfer to a bowl for serving.

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Chicken

Ciao Bella

Gluten-free

© 2020 by PAMELA GELSOMINI, LLC