When I first started housekeeping and entertaining, Martha Stewart was the considered one of America’s most “creative hostesses.” I spent hours poring over her books; glossy photographs of beautifully presented parties, recipes for appetizing dishes and unique, nature-inspired entertaining ideas. No one since Julia Child had so much influence on the way a whole generation of busy American women cooked and entertained.
While Martha’s menus celebrated the seasons and offered up farm-fresh ingredients, I found the recipes more for very special entertaining rather than every day dining. My family still insists I prepare Roquefort grapes and fresh croissants at Christmas. And my husband still loves sesame chicken.
The recipe for Sesame Chicken in Delicata Squash is a riff and condensed version of one published in Stewart’s book “Quick Cook.” It’s almost like an Asian inspired New England farm dinner. Boneless chicken (at our house this would be rabbit) is marinated in white wine, garlic, ginger and soy, dredged in flour and sesame seeds and sautéed until golden.
The chicken (or rabbit) meat is delicious; crunchy, moist and flavorful. I often serve it as a small plate or appetizer. Steamed squash halves (Martha uses baby acorn instead of delicata) are the delivery package for stir-fry oriental veggies. No time for fresh veggies? Try a package of frozen stir-fry ones instead. Substitute tofu for the meat to satisfy your vegan and vegetarian friends.
When I need inspiration for a very special supper or a festive dinner party, Martha still rocks.
SESAME CHICKEN IN DELICATA SQUASH
- ½ cup white wine
- ¼ cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlicfinely chopped
- 1- teaspoon chili powder
- 2 Delicata squash halved, with seeds scraped out
- 12 ounces boneless chicken cut into strips, breast or thigh meat
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 red pepper cut into chunks
- 12 Brussel sprouts
- In a medium bowl, mix the marinade ingredients together. Add the chicken and allow the chicken to marinate at least 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator.
- Cut the delicate squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Place the squash halves in a baking pan, cut side down. Add about 1 inch of water and bake in a 350-degree oven until the squash is tender, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, drain the water and return to the pan to keep warm.
- Wash and cut the vegetables. Steam them until they are fork tender and set aside. Combine the flour and sesame seeds. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture. Melt the butter in a skillet and fry the chicken pieces until they are golden. Remove from pan, and deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of the marinade mixture. Add the veggies and cook until they are heated through.
- To serve: Arrange the vegetables and the chicken pieces in each squash half.