Creamy Chicken, Kale and Red Onions over Spaghetti Squash


Have you ever been introduced as someone else?  And was the person who confused your identity someone you interacted with pretty regularly?  This happened to me once.  Even though it was an innocent mistake, and the person apologized profusely, and I always had a hard time keeping my students' names straight too, and actually sometimes their gender, so yeah, really I've done much worse...well, honestly it didn't feel great.

Maybe that's why I feel so protective of spaghetti squash when I see people recommending sauces for spaghetti squash that are designed to go with pasta.  Imagine the awkwardness!  "Sauce, you'll love my friend, spaghetti!"  "Er, actually I'm a squash, but don't worry, I don't have any identity issues from being constantly mistaken for spaghetti or anything."  Poor gold string melon.


Spaghetti squash doesn't taste like spaghetti, so I'd rather not pair it with a traditional tomato-based spaghetti sauce.  They just taste irrelevant to each other.  Why not respect the individuality of the spaghetti squash by choosing a sauce that builds on and enhances its flavor profile?


A creamy sauce with red onions and kale is my attempt at a step in the right direction.  I added chicken, because it's convenient to roast chicken and squash at the same time, but roasted turkey or chickpeas could also be good protein options.  Maybe you'll have some leftover turkey on your hands soon?  This meal happens to be gluten-free, primal, and can be adapted to be vegetarian.


Brining the chicken before baking makes a big difference in the flavor and moisture.  However, I usually forget to leave time for thawing meat and an hour of brining.  Next time I buy chicken I'm planning an experiment:  I'll portion it out into recipe-sized servings, and freeze it in the brine.  The meat will brine as it freezes and thaws.  I know this strategy works for marinades - has anyone tried this for brine?  I will let you know how it goes.

As you can probably tell from this scary final picture, cooking without a recipe took longer than I expected and so it was dark by the time I got around to plating.  But it was tasty and worth the effort, as things made with heavy cream tend to be.  Bonus tip: keeping your SO waiting around for dinner until they are starving is one way you can make sure they really appreciate your cooking.

Looking for more recipes that treat spaghetti squash like more than just a spaghetti substitute?  There are some great suggestion in this roundup by the Family Kitchen.


Creamy Chicken, Kale & Red Onion over Spaghetti Squash
The "bechamel" was inspired by this recipe by chef Fabio Trabocchi. A food processor is helpful for incorporating raw egg into the hot cream without lumps.  Brining the chicken is optional, but I really recommend it. Here's how: In a saucepan, boil 2 c. water with 3 T. salt (I used sea salt crystals) until salt dissolves.  Add two chicken thighs, and cover with about 3 cups cool water.  Refrigerate submerged in the brine at least one hour, or up to three.  





2 chicken thighs, brined (optional)
1 spaghetti squash
1 red onion, sliced
2 T. olive oil
1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into bite size pieces

Flourless "Bechamel"
1 pint heavy cream
1 T. butter
1 egg
1/2 t. salt
pepper to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 450. Set a large pot of salted water on to boil for the kale.

2. The squash, chicken and onions are all going into the oven, but the onions for a shorter time than the chicken and squash. Split the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, rub cut surface with remaining olive oil, and place each cut half face down on a baking sheet. Roast squash until quite soft, 40-50 minutes, and then remove the seeds. Roast the chicken in a shallow dish or on the same baking sheet as the squash, until skin is brown and crispy, about 45 minutes. Cool a bit, then shred the meat. Toss the onion slices with 1 1/2 T. of olive oil, and roast for about 10-15 minutes, until beginning to brown.


3.  Once the water is boiling, add chopped kale, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10-30 minutes, stirring every now and then. It's done when it's tender but not mushy. Drain.


4. Meanwhile, make the flourless bechamel. Combine the cream and butter, simmering and stirring over medium heat, until reduced by half. Spoon a tablespoon or two of the hot mixture into your food processor, add the egg, and pulse. Once combined, add the rest of the cream and pulse until combined.  


5. In a large saucepan over medium-low, combine the drained kale, flourless bechamel, and roasted onions. Add shredded chicken or other protein, and stir to combine, bringing everything back up to a simmer. Taste for seasoning. Scoop the warm squash into each plate and top with sauce, or serve sauce over a whole roasted squash half (this is a big serving!).

5 comments:

  1. Wow, Ella! Great recipes and photos! Sure would love to see some of them on Chowstalker!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great idea, I'm still learning about all the options for connecting with other bloggers and eaters.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Brining the chicken before baking makes a big difference in the flavor and moisture. However, "I usually forget to leave time for thawing meat and an hour of brining. Next time I buy chicken I'm planning an experiment: I'll portion it out into recipe-sized servings, and freeze it in the brine. The meat will brine as it freezes and thaws. I know this strategy works for marinades - has anyone tried this for brine? I will let you know how it goes."

    Did this work?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I made this last night, but with spinach instead of kale and chicken breast instead of thigh. It was wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Lis - I forgot about this project, but I will experiment and get back to you.

    @Dee - Glad you liked it!

    ReplyDelete

Feed the blog - leave a comment!