Butternut Squash and Chicken Fall Pie
I have a love/hate relationship with making dinner. I love to cook and create recipes, but there are just some nights when I really don't feel like making anything! That is why I love recipes that allow me to either make them head of time, or that make really great leftovers. That way I get the most out of the energy I put into it.
During this time of year, I love to use fall produce as much as possible, and butternut squash is one of my favorites. The slightly sweet and earthy flavors pair so well with savory dishes. The "fall pie" that I created has everything you need and want in a meal, in one slice!! The crust is a hearty whole wheat crust that can be used for a number of things. It is crumbly and rich, and you don't have to worry about rolling out pastry dough! You just press this one into the pie or tart tin. I like to roast the butternut squash before adding it in, because that create a really nice layer of flavor. I simply cook the chicken in a skillet, but if you have leftover rotisserie chicken, or even turkey (think, post Thanksgiving), those would work out great as well.
Then, the healthy part! I added spinach, because I like the flavor, but also because I like to sneak veggies in where I can. Lastly the cheese....who doesn't love cheese? I like gruyere for this, because it is nutty, rich and subtle. I like to top the pie with parmesan cheese, because it has that nutty flavor as well, but is more crumbly and robust.
How to make perfect Butternut Squash and Chicken Fall Pie
*Use really cold butter, right out of the fridge for the crust.
*If this recipe makes too much dough for the pie or tart tin that you are using, don't force it all in. Use only enough to fit, and press the rest together in a separate tin, and use to snack.
*Make sure the butternut squash and chicken have cooled before adding in the egg and cheese.
*Make sure the egg is room temperature. This will help it mix in much nicer.
*Once the spinach has cooked down, make sure to let it drain in a stainer. Then, once it is cooled, use your hands to squeeze all the extra liquid out of the spinach. If you don't do this, then the tart could be soggy.
*If making this ahead of time, bake up the crust, and mix up the mixture separately. When you are reading to bake them up, allow them to come to room temperature, then place the mixture into the crust and bake.
Butternut Squash and Chicken Fall Pie
Both the crust and the filling can be made ahead of time and added together just before wanting to bake
2 cup roasted butternut squash
2 cups cooked chicken cut into small cubes (about two chicken breasts)
1 egg, room temperature
6 oz fresh spinach
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried tarragon (optional)
1 cup freshly grated gruyere
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
about 1/4 cup or so cold half and half or whole milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place the whole wheat flour, salt, and butter into a food processor
Process until the butter is cut in
With the mixer running, add in the milk
Pour in just enough so that the dough can stay together, you don't want it to be too wet
Pour the mixture into a tart dish or pie dish
Use your hands to press it into the dish and up the sides
If you have too much dough, don't add it all in! You can bake it separately to snack on
Bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until set
This can be made ahead of time if needed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Cut the butternut squash into about 1/2 inch pieces, and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, toss with olive oil and salt, and bake until softened, about 30-45 minutes
Cut the chicken into about 1/2 inch cubes, and cook in a skillet over medium heat with some oil and salt until browned and cooked through
Allow the chicken and butternut squash to cool a bit and place in a large bowl together
In the same skillet that you cooked the chicken in, over medium heat, add in the spinach and a pinch of salt
Stir the spinach and cook until wilted
Remove from pan and place in a strainer to drain
Once the spinach is cooled, use your hands to squeeze out excess liquid from the spinach
Place the spinach on a cutting board and cut into small pieces, then add to the chicken and butternut squash mixture
Add in the gruyere and dried herbs, and mix in well
Crack the egg into a separate bowl, and use a fork to whisk it
Mix the egg into the mixture, and mix well so that everything is evenly coated with the egg
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and spread evenly
Top with 2 tablespoons (or however much you like) freshly grated parmesan cheese
Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes, or until the middle has set
Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving