This Chicken with Pumpkinseed Pesto and Butternut Sauce recipe is a wonderful, delicious chicken dish that’s perfect in the fall!
I made this dinner a while back, and it was quite a success with my family. I didn’t expect my little one to enjoy the seed pesto, but he eagerly gobbled it up. My husband was happy to have a meal at home that was reminiscent of one you might find in a restaurant. I’d say this recipe for Chicken with Pumpkinseed Pesto is definitely a good way to dress up plain old chicken! It’s a bit of a chore to make, but if you like to cook and don’t mind all of the steps involved, I think you’ll be satisfied with the end result!
- extra virgin olive oil
- chicken broth
- butternut squash
- salt and ground cumin
- chicken breasts
- white cheddar cheese
- unsalted butter
- all purpose flour
How to make Chicken with Pumpkinseed Pesto and Butternut Sauce:
The complete, printable recipe is at the end of this post.
The first step is toasting the pepitas in a hot skillet. Pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds and can usually be found in Latin markets or in stores that sell things in bins- like Whole Foods or Sprouts.
Garlic and jalapeños are sautéed in olive oil and then chicken broth is added and reduced a bit. This mixture is then processed with the toasted pumpkin seeds to create a pumpkin seed paste (pesto).
The sauce is then prepared. Leeks are sautéed in olive oil, and then butternut squash is added and all is simmered in chicken broth until softened. It’s then transferred to a food processor where cumin, salt and cream are added to transform it into a spiced up creamy sauce.
So now you’ve got your pumpkinseed pesto and the butternut sauce ready for finishing the recipe!
The chicken is pounded out until it’s quite thin (about 1/4 to 1/2-inch). The pumpkinseed pesto is spread onto each chicken breast and then topped with shredded white cheddar cheese.
The flattened out chicken is then folded in half, gently dredged in flour and pan-fried in a little bit of olive oil and butter on each side until browned and no longer pink.
I place the chicken on brown rice, top it with the butternut squash sauce and serve it with a side of sautéed zucchini. Enjoy!
Butternut Squash Recipes:
- Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup
- Chicken and Butternut Squash Chili
- Butternut Squash Coconut Lobster Soup
- Baked Rice with Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash Risotto with Rosemary and Blue Cheese
Chicken with Pumpkinseed Pesto and Butternut Sauce
- 1 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium jalapeño chilies, seeded and coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 1 large leek (washed thoroughly and sliced- white and pale green parts only)
- 1 pound butternut squash (peeled and seeds scooped out), cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth (add more, if needed)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup whipping cream (or half and half cream)
- 4 (about 1½ pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- ½ cup grated white cheddar cheese (or Monterey Jack)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup all purpose flour, for dredging
MAKE THE PUMPKINSEED PESTO:
- Heat a large skillet to medium-heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring and shaking the pan until fragrant and slightly golden, about 4 minutes. (They'll pop a bit as they cook, so watch out for flying seeds!) Slide onto a paper towel on the counter to let cool.
- In the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the jalapeños and cook another minute or so. Stir in the chicken broth, turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced and the chilies soften.
- Scrape the skillet mixture and pumpkin seeds into a food processor. Process until the mixture is a coarse but spreadable paste. Scoop into a bowl and let cool while you prepare the sauce. Wipe out the food processor with paper towels so it's ready to use for the sauce.
MAKE THE BUTTERNUT SAUCE:
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the squash and chicken broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the squash is tender (10 to 15 minutes).
- Transfer it all a to food processor, adding cumin, salt and cream. Puree until the sauce is completely smooth. Return the sauce to the skillet. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out a little bit with additional chicken broth.
ASSEMBLE THE CHICKEN AND COOK:
- Lay each breast flat between two pieces of waxed paper. Pound until about ¼-inch-thick. Spread ¼ of the pumpkinseed pesto across each breast. Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese over the filling. Fold each breast in half to create a pocket.
- Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and carefully dredge each chicken pocket in the flour. Add to the pan, one by one. Cook until the pink is gone, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan when cooked.
- Reheat the sauce and serve each chicken breast topped with a spoonful of sauce.
- This chicken is terrific served over rice ,too.