Amanda Love's Cooking
Delicious, Healthy Seasonal Recipes
from the "The Barefoot Cook" August
Southwestern Summer Squash Casserole
with Shredded Free Range Chicken
This is one of my very favorite dishes of all time. What makes this dish so special is the feature of two of my favorite veggies - green chilies and summer squash which are both in abundance in the summer. Green chilies should start to hit the markets about this time and can often be found outside grocery stores roasting in big cylindrical vats. Green chilies are rich in vitamin C and will definitely help to keep things moving as they are tonifying to the large intestine. I remember I made this dish once in Hawaii for an event I catered. It was so expensive to make as the ingredients were foreign to Hawaii. The squash and green chilies were expensive and shipped from the mainland. So make good use of these plants while we have an abundance of them grown fresh right around our doorstep.
Summer squash is a nutritious and somewhat filling vegetable. It comes in many varieties and is available a couple of months each side of summer. It is very good for the nerves as well as helping one to keep cool during the hot summer months as it has a rich, watery, alkalizing content. Chinese medicine says squash helps to reduce inflammation which is another example of how eating seasonally supports our systems as summer is definitely the time when we are more prone to that condition. Consumption of the raw seeds of squash is said to expel both roundworms and tapeworms.
Remember to make use of the delicacies that grow on the squash plant – the blossoms. They are only good if eaten fresh and can be stuffed with goat cheese, battered and pan-fried, sautéed or baked or simply sliced up and tossed into a salad.
1 lb Pastured, or Organic, free range Chicken tenders and/or thigh meat (substitute with turkey, pork or tofu)
Filtered Water – 2 cups
1 package or 12 Organic Corn Tortillas (preferably blue corn)
8 oz fresh roasted or 2 cans Hatch Green Chili’s
2 Zucchinis – sliced in ½ inch slices
2 Yellow Squash – sliced in ½ inch slices
Tomatoes – 2 assorted varieties – rough chopped
½ cup Cream (preferably raw and/or organic) (optional)
½ pound or about 1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese ((preferably raw and/or organic); (omit if dairy intolerant))
Juice of 2 limes
1 red onion - diced
4 cloves garlic - minced
2 tablespoons Cumin
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
½ teaspoon Cayenne
3 Bay Leaves
2 tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Arrowroot Powder (optional)
1 bunch Scallions
½ cup chopped Cilantro
½ cup sliced Calamata or Black Olives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a deep skillet, heat water to a low boil. Add 1 tablespoon cumin, bay leaves and 1 tablespoon salt to liquid. Add chicken and poach over a slow simmer until tender. Once tender, remove chicken and set aside to cool. Shred chicken once cool. Keep poaching liquid and add diced onion and summer squash. Add remaining cumin, cayenne and chili powder and 1 more tablespoon of salt. Cook squash until tender. Turn off heat. Add minced garlic, green chilies, 1 chopped tomato, ½ chopped cilantro, lime juice and arrowroot powder. Stir all ingredients together and add ½ cup raw cream. Salt and spice to taste. In casserole dish place remaining chopped tomato on bottom of dish. Then add 6 tortillas. Pour squash mixture on top of first layer of tortillas and then add shredded chicken on top of squash mixture. Add ½ of grated cheese and then layer with more tortillas and the remaining squash mixture and chicken. Top with another layer of cheese. Top the cheese with sliced scallion, tomatoes, cilantro, and black olives. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Dollop with sour cream and add slices of avocado and a wedge of lime to each serving. This dish would be great served with a side of anasazi, pinto or black beans. Enjoy this delicious summer dish!