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Chef On A Shoestring

Chuck Adams
Robbins Wolfe

Butternut Squash Soup

1 2-lb. butternut squash, halved
1 12-16 ounce sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium carrots, peeled , rough dice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 ribs celery, peeled and sliced crosswise
2 sprigs thyme
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half (optional)
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash cut side down, potatoes, and carrots on baking sheet. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and let squash cool enough to handle.

Using a spoon, scoop out and discard squash seeds. Scrape the meat away from the skin. Place the potatoes, carrots and squash meat in bowl and reserve.

In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add onion, celery and thyme stirring occasionally until soft and lightly browned about 10 minutes. Discard the thyme. Stir in the broth and roasted vegetables. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Puree soup in food processor until smooth and return to saucepan. You may need to puree in batches. Add the half and half to the pureed soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper and re-heat if necessary before serving.

Sauteed Tangerine and Homemade Biscuits with Fresh Whipped Cream

1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup vegetables shortening
1/3 cup milk

Place the first six ingredients in the bowl of food processor and pulse to combine. Cut the shortening into one tablespoon portions and add to bowl of processor and pulse until it resembles peas sized bits. Add the milk to the mixture all at once while the blade is running.

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Mold the dough into a flat disc about 1/2 inch in diameter. Use an inverted juice glass to cut out rounds of dough. Place the rounds on the cookie sheet. Be sure to spread them evenly apart. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden.

3 Tangerines, segmented, pits removed
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Saute the tangerines over high heat for a few minutes until they are heated through and start to turn translucent. Add the sugar and cook until the sugar caramelizes and becomes syrupy. De-glaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and serve over the biscuit, cut in half, with fresh whipped cream on top.

Mushroom and Pear Stuffed Breast of Chicken

1/2 Bosc pear, skin left on, cut into small dice
1 pint button mushrooms, stems on, brushed clean
2 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons butter
2 whole chicken breasts, bone in (abot 11/2 pounds total), skins on
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mushrooms are finely chopped. Be careful not to over process or the mushrooms will turn mushy. Reserve.

Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and the pear and saute for 5 minutes until most of the liquid released from the mushrooms has evaporated.

Add the thyme, rosemary, chopped parsley, brandy and cream. Continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes more or until the cream has reduced and the mixture is mostly dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and reserve.

After stuffing has cooled, place it in pastry bag with 1/4 inch opening. If you don't have a pastry bag, place stuffing in a ziploc plasic bag and snip off the one of the lower corners. Gently lift up the skin of the chicken breast to separate it from the meat. Stuff the cavity between the meat and the skin with the mushroom and pear mixture by squeezing the mixture from the pastry bag or plastic bag. Rub the chicken all over with butter. Place the stuffed chicken on a tray and roast in 400 degree oven for 25 minutes until golden and the juices run clear when poked with a fork. Remove chicken from the oven and carefully slice meat away from the bone. Slice breast on the bias into even slices.

Prepare couscous according to box directions. Place couscous on serving platter, serve the chicken breast on top of the couscous and garnish with fresh herb sprigs.