- 1 cup uncooked wild and brown rice blend
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 1 small butternut squash (about 1½ lbs.)
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into ¼- inch dice (about 1½ cups)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces), divided
- ½ cup roughly chopped raw pecans or walnuts
- Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Drain off any excess cooking liquid and set aside (you should have about 3 cooked cups).
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 425° F. For easy cleanup, lay a large piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer on top, tucking the loose side portion of each thigh underneath. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bake on the center rack of the oven until the chicken thighs reach 165° F on an instant- read thermometer at the thickest part, about 20 minutes. Immediately transfer from the dish to a plate and cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Discard the foil or parchment and keep the pan handy.
- While the chicken cooks, peel the butternut squash and trim off the top and bottom ends. Cut the neck away from the round base, then stand the base up on its ﬂat end and cut it in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut the squash (both base and neck) into ½- inch cubes (you should have about 4 cups cubes).
- In a large, deep skillet with a tight- ﬁtting lid, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender but still retains some chew, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Once the chicken has rested, cut it into bite- sized pieces. Add it to the pan with the squash, then add the thyme, cranberries, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, and the rice. Stir to combine.
- Lightly coat with nonstick spray the same 9×13- inch dish you used to bake the chicken (no need to wash it in between). With a large spoon, scoop the squash and rice mixture into the dish, spreading it into an even layer.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the nuts and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan on top. Bake 8 to 10 additional minutes, until the cheese is melted and the nuts are toasted and crisp. Sprinkle with additional chopped fresh thyme and serve warm.
Nutrition FactsServing Size: 1/6 recipe Calories: 475 Sugar: 18 Sodium: 470 Fat: 23 Carbohydrates: 46 Fiber: 7 Protein: 26 Cholesterol: 102
Keywords: butternut squash casserole