Recipe for Butternut Squash with Barbecue Chicken

Creamy butternut squash puree is the perfect base for smoky barbecue chicken.

November/December 2015

  • Sweet and Smoky Butternut Barbecue Bowl is made with chicken and squash.
    Photo by Karen K. Will

Total Hands-On Time: 5 hr 30 min

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 5 hr

Yield: 4 servings

Garlicky, sweet butternut squash is the perfect base for smoky barbecue chicken. This is like a classic pulled pork dish, which incidentally, you could substitute here. We just raise lots of broiler chickens on our farm, and slow cooking and “pulling” the meat is my favorite way to get the most out of them. Choose a smoky or tangy barbecue sauce, preferably organic.


• 1 broiler chicken (4 to 5 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
• 6 tablespoons butter, divided
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• Butternut squash (enough to yield
• 2 pounds of flesh)
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1 head garlic, peeled
• 2 tablespoons whole milk or half-and-half
• 1 teaspoon honey, optional
• 1 bottle (12 ounces) barbecue sauce
• 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, for garnish


1. Place chicken in large slow cooker. Rub 4 tablespoons butter all over skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 5-1⁄2 hours.

2. About 1 hour before chicken is done, preheat oven to 350 F.

3. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place halves, cut side down, on parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle water around tray. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil.

4. Bake squash and garlic for 50 minutes, or until squash is tender. Let cool for 20 minutes.

5. Squeeze out garlic cloves and scoop out squash flesh; place both in bowl of food processor. Process until mixture is smooth.

6. Melt remaining butter, and add to squash mixture in food processor, along with milk. Season with a little more salt and pepper, and add honey, if desired. Process until smooth.

7. When chicken is done, remove from slow cooker and place on cutting board to cool for about 20 minutes. When cool to the touch, shred meat off bones. Place meat in large bowl. Add barbecue sauce, and toss to coat.

8. Divide squash mixture evenly among 4 bowls. Top each with generous amounts of barbecue chicken. Garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.

Try more healthy one-bowl comfort foods.


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