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Chicken Cassolet with Acorn Squash

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups chopped onion, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup dry Marsala or apple cider

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

¾ teaspoon dried thyme, divided

¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided

½ teaspoon salt, divided

½ teaspoon dried basil

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano

2 cups water

2 cups diced peeled acorn or butternut squash

1 cup diced carrot

2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained

1 pound skinned, boned chicken breast

2 bacon slices

½ pound smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/4 –inch slices

STEP 1: Melt butter in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 cup of onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add Marsala or cider, parsley, ¼ teaspoon thyme, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, basil and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered 10 minutes. Spoon into a bowl; set aside.

STEP 2: Combine ¼ teaspoon salt, 2 cups water, squash and carrot in pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Partially mash the beans with a potato masher, and add beans and tomato mixture to pan. Cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat.

STEPS 1 and 2 can be prepared a day ahead of time; cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Preheat oven to 325º. Rub chicken with ½ teaspoon thyme and ½ teaspoon pepper; set aside. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble bacon, and set aside. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from skillet and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add 1 cup onion and sausage to skillet; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the chicken, crumbled bacon, and sausage mixture to bean mixture in pan, stirring to combine.

Cover and bake at 325º for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes. Serves