The words “comfort foods” conjure up visions of mac ‘n’ cheese, lasagna, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a lot of foods that may seem comforting at the time, but leave your body feeling bloated, sluggish and anything but comforted. The good news is that comfort foods can actually be comforting to both the body and the soul and satisfying to the taste buds, too!

A favorite dish for fall is ragout. Meaning a well seasoned dish consisting of small bits of meat with stewed vegetables, ragout can be made with a variety of proteins and vegetables including beef, lamb, pork, or make a vegetarian version using hearty eggplant. Potatoes are common in ragout dishes, yet in this recipe, they are replaced with nutrient dense butternut squash and super food quinoa. Flavorful, lean turkey bacon is used in place of high-fat salt pork and chicken is the protein of choice. Braised and cooked over low heat, this dish gets an infusion of delicious flavor from fresh herbs of thyme, oregano and parsley and whole peppercorns.

Perfect for Sunday supper, this is one comfort food that will leave you feeling satisfied and energized and is the ideal dish to enjoy leftovers at work the next day.

Chicken Quinoa Ragout1380136703-chickenragout
(Serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 whole chicken legs, skin removed
Sea salt (as instructed)
Black pepper (as instructed)
6 slices turkey bacon
4 green onion, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ¼ cups water plus 2 cups water or chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 pound butternut or acorn squash, skin removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
Dash or two of hot sauce
1 cup pre-washed quinoa
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley leaves


1. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and lightly season with salt and pepper. Brown chicken on one side, turn and brown on the other side. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add turkey bacon to the skillet and cook until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the green onion and onion and saute until just browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and stir an additional minute.

3. Add 1¼ cups water and the wine to the skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in garlic, thyme, oregano, peppercorns, bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Add the squash and chicken, return to a boil, cover with lid and reduce heat to low. Cook until the squash is tender and the chicken is nearly falling off the bones – about 30 minutes.

4. While chicken ragout is cooking, make the quinoa by bringing quinoa and remaining 2 cups of water to boil in a medium stock pot over medium high heat. Cover and reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, until ready to use.

5. To serve, remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs from ragout. Stir the hot sauce into the ragout, place 1 cup of cooked quinoa on serving plate. Top quinoa with approximately 1 cup ragout and 1 chicken leg. Finish with a sprinkle of the chopped parsley.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Serving size: 1 chicken leg with approximately 1 cup of quinoa ragout
Calories: 534.1
Fat: 15.7 g
Saturated Fat: 3.3 g
Carbohydrates: 59.9 g
Protein: 38.1 g
Fiber: 10.5 g
Sodium: 456.1 mg

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