Have you ever had one of those nights when you are cooking dinner and a tasty idea pops into your head? That happened to me recently and resulted in what I call “Pumpkin Coconut Crusted Chicken.” In the fall I am all about pumpkin: pumpkin pie, homemade pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin smoothies – it is all good! But last week I was in the kitchen cooking my usual batch of chicken, when an urge for pumpkin occurred. I decided to whip together a few of my favorite things, and experiment with a new fall-inspired dish. According to my taste test subjects it came out simply delightful and I could not agree more!
This dish incorporates pumpkin and pumpkin seeds for a burst of savory-sweet flavor and irresistible crunch. Pumpkin definitely tastes delicious, but did you know that its seeds are one of the richest food sources of magnesium? I talk a lot about magnesium here on the blog because it is one of the most vital dietary minerals. Magnesium supports over 300 enzyme systems that control numerous biochemical reactions in the body including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is also required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. To read more on this amazing and essential mineral, check out my post on magnesium.
Just 100g of pumpkin seeds contains nearly 91 mg of magnesium. The total daily recommended dosage for adults is 400mg, so this is a significant amount! Soaking and sprouting pumpkin seeds helps with magnesium absorption by lowering phytic acid levels, which block mineral digestion. You can purchase pre-sprouted pumpkin seeds, or learn how to sprout them yourself. (1)
Other delicious ingredients in this recipe include smooth and creamy coconut oil whipped into a think sauce with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Everything is from scratch, eliminating the need for store bought additives, preservatives, and excess sugars. To give the chicken a bit of an extra “crust” to it, pumpkin seeds and dried coconut flakes are sprinkled on top. You may want to make double of this recipe, because leftovers are even better than the first go around! Check out my favorite glass and stainless steel storage containers, which I use to avoid plastics and the harmful chemicals they contain.
Savory Pumpkin Coconut Crusted Chicken
3 pounds chicken (I use thighs as the dark meat is higher in nutrients!)
2 cups fresh (or canned) pumpkin
¼ cup coconut oil
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
For on top:
Pre-Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 glass baking dish with coconut oil. Place the chicken thighs in the dish. Pour two cups of pumpkin over the chicken. Coat the pumpkin all over the chicken with your hands. In a separate bowel, melt coconut oil and whisk in spices. Pour over pumpkin coated chicken. Turn chicken pieces again to fully cover. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, pumpkin seeds and coconut shreds. Place in the oven and bake for one hour. Enjoy!