Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Kale (Gaps, Paleo, Grain-Free)

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Kale (Gaps, Grain Free, Paleo)
I often marvel at what even “good” stress can do to the body. Our family has enjoyed lots of excitement and change over the last few months. While they’ve all been good things, the cumulative effect on my body is added stress. I realized a few weeks ago I was having a hard time “turning my brain off.” Have you ever had that happen? With all the screens we use in our lives – smart phones, computers, tvs – we can easily overdo it. I took a step back and realized I wasn’t allowing my body to fully rest. And not only was I finding my mind wouldn’t slow down, I noticed a few inches creep in around my waist. This is a classic indicator that my cortisol levels are too high. As a result, I’ve taken steps to turn the volume down and reset my system.

  1. Long walks – With the cooler temperatures, now is a great time to get outside and enjoy the chill in the air.
  2. Keep the computer off all weekend – This simple step has provided huge benefits! I turn it off on Friday, shut the door and don’t come back until Monday morning.
  3. Read more – I downloaded a few books on my Kindle – yes, it’s still a “device” but it’s so much cheaper to purchase books electronically. I also noticed I hardly read for “fun” anymore. When I read, it’s usually a cookbook or something about health. So I purchased a few novels. I can’t even remember the last time I read a novel!
  4. Simple dinners – Soups, casseroles, salads, or have Pete do a little grilling. I’m making dinners that require minimal effort.
  5. Open the windows – How is it that fresh air can make a house smell so nice? I’ve opened the windows each morning to let in plenty of fresh air.
  6. Socialize – As much as I love working on Deliciously Organic, writing and recipe testing can be isolating. So, I’m making plans to get out with friends more often.
  7. Detox – I consulted my nutritionist and she agreed that the Intro to the Gaps Diet would be the perfect way to reset my system and help my cortisol levels subside. It’s not the easiest detox diet, but it’s totally worth it. After just 5 days, I’ve lost an inch in my waist. Yep, it’s working.

 The Bay


Have you been surprised by your body’s ability to indicate when there’s too much stress in your life? The body can send signals in all sorts of ways and it’s important to be aware of those signals. What steps do you take to reduce stress?

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Kale

For the first few days of the detox, I basically just ate simple soups and fermented foods, but now I’m allowed to add some ghee and avocado back into my diet. I wanted a hearty stew the other night, so I came up with this chicken stew with butternut squash and kale. It’s nutritious, filling and great for a simple fall meal.

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Kale (Gaps, Paleo, Grain-Free)

Serving Size: Serves 6-8

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Kale (Gaps, Paleo, Grain-Free)


  • 2 tablespoons ghee (click here for an easy homemade recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, divided
2 yellow onions, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
 (optional, but will help create a thicker stew)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

  • 4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large head kale, cut into bite-size pieces

  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 300ºF. Melt ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot along with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the thyme and coconut flour. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and then scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits.

Add the chicken breasts and squash and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 1 1/4 hours.

Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add kale to the water and boil for 7 minutes. Drain. (click here to read why this step is necessary.)

Remove the pot from the oven and spoon out the chicken using a slotted spoon. Shred the chicken using two forks and then put the chicken back in the pot. Stir in the kale, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with remaining 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

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  1. Michelle

    Absolutely delicious. I don’t have a pot that will go in the oven, so I made everything on the stove top. It turned out great, although I’m sure baking it in the oven adds a different flavor. I will definitely make this recipe again!

  2. Marci Duckworth, R.N.

    I made this tonight…. Love the butternut squash! I did add coconut milk, ginger, 1 T fermented thai fish sauce and some curry. This is perfect on a cold, winter night. I adore your website. I have learned so much from you about nutrition. Please keep creating these wonderful recipes and sharing healthy tips! I hope you find peace and feel refreshed soon!

  3. Cassidy

    Honestly, i never leave posts , but his soup is too good not to!
    Its just perfect and the ingredients are things i always have on hand in the fall. I have done it with a bit of cream, chili flakes , and fresh Parmesan at the table.
    I have been very impressed with this blog and the great resources and recipes. Everything inhave tried has been truly stellar and not gluten free tasting at All. Bravo!!

  4. Jill

    This was great! I mashed some of the squash at the end, added more Thyme, and added a can of unsweetened coconut milk before adding the Kale. Turned the burner on the stove and let it all simmer a little longer. (maybe 10 minutes while the kale softened.) DElish!!

  5. Made this tonight and it was delicious! This recipe is wonderful itself or as base with other additions.

    Added just a bit of Sriracha and more thyme. Used cornstarch instead of the coconut flour. Decided to add great northern beans – so yummy, and made it very hearty for a cold night!

  6. I have been using a lot of your recipes lately after trying paleo to clear up my eczema. It is definitely helping! Made this soup tonight and it has turned into my favorite soup. Amazing combination and will be on my weekly rotation. Thank you!


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