Costa Rican Recipes: Ayote Chicken
Ayote Squash Makes a Low Fat Sauce for Sauteed Chicken
Ayote (pronounced ah-yo-tay) squash is a winter-type squash. There are several different varieties of this type of squash in Costa Rica and they are normally used in a soup called olla de carne (pot of meat). Pieces of the squash can also be candied in a raw brown sugar called tapa dulce .
This recipe uses ayote in a different way to make a low fat sauce for sauteed chicken. The boiled squash is blenderized with sauteed onions, peppers, chopped garlic and a few other ingredients. Then it is added to the sauteed chicken and simmered for a short while. The ingredients and steps to make this savory golden sauce are given below. Serving portions are 6-8, depending on how hungry you and your guests are.
Substitution note: In temperate climates like Europe and the United States, cooks can substitute other hard winter squashes like the butternut, acorn or Hubbard varieties. For the recipe, you need to have about two blender jars 1/2 to 3/4 full of the cooked squash to make the sauce.
Ingredient List for Ayote Chicken
1- 3 lb ayote squash
3 tablespoons of chicken bullion powder
2 tablespoons of prepared mustard
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of Salsa Lizano
2 whole chicken breasts, deboned
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 tablespoons of olive oil, pomace
2 cups of 2% milk
2 cups of water
3 tablespoons of chopped coriander (Chinese parsley)
3 large cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
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Cut open the ayote squash and remove the seeds with a spoon. Remove the skin of the squash with a vegetable peeler and then cut into 1-2 inch pieces. Add these pieces to boiling water and cook until tender.
Cut the chicken into small serving pieces (or you can leave the breast pieces whole). (The reason I like to cut it into about 1” pieces is so more of the meat surface is in contact with the sauce.). Season the pieces with 1 packet of bullion powder (about 1 tablespoon), 2 tablespoons of prepared mustard, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 2 tablespoons of Salsa Lizano. Set aside to marinate.
Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions and peppers until the onions are starting to caramelize. Take the onions and peppers out of the pan and add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and fry until browned on both sides.
While the chicken is frying, take the cooked squash and add ½ of amount to a blender or food processor container. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of 2% milk and 1 tablespoon of chicken bullion powder for each blender. Also add the ½ the sautéed onions and peppers and the chopped coriander and garlic. Repeat this step with the remaining amount of squash. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
When the chicken has been browned on both sides, take it out and drain the excess oil from the pan. Put the pieces back in the pan and add the sauce. (Be careful, the sauce is fairly thick and, if the pan is really hot, it will launch bubbles toward you and the ceiling). Simmer and move the chicken pieces around periodically for 20 minutes. The ayote sauce will take on a slightly darker color from the chicken and the flavors will mingle wonderfully.
Serve with a vegetable dish. In the photo above, you will note that I cooked green beans and potatoes as an accompaniment. If you try this delicious dish, please leave me a comment below. I appreciate all feedback.
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