Weeknight Cooking

Apple Cider Chicken With Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad in a Multi-Cooker

November 30, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

When you have more apple cider than you know what to do with, turn it into a seasonally-inspired dinner with crispy apple cider-glazed chicken, harvest quinoa salad, and tender butternut squash. With a dash of warm spices, notes of sweet fruit, and a whole lot of fall vibes, this combo checks off all of the boxes.

With minimal prep work required, this convenient one-pot-style recipe can be whipped together in a matter of minutes using the STEAM & CRISP function of the Ninja® Foodi® XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with SmartLid™. Layered from bottom to top, you’ll simultaneously cook the quinoa, butternut squash, and chicken thighs all at once for a delicious, no-fuss dinner.

Don’t have all of the ingredients on hand? This recipe can easily be adapted to make the most out of what you already have at home. Substitute ingredients like butternut squash for sweet potatoes, feta cheese for Parmesan, and almonds for pecans for an equally autumnal meal. —Maki Yazawa

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Ninja™, and was developed using the Ninja® Foodi® XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with SmartLid™.

Accessories and tools needed: Deluxe Reversible Rack (both layers) and aluminum foil —The Editors

What You'll Need
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Apple Cider Chicken With Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad in a Multi-Cooker
  • For Level 1 (Bottom of Pot):
  • 1 cup tricolor quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • For Level 2 (Bottom Layer of Rack):
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • For Level 3 (Top Layer of Rack):
  • 2 pounds bone-in,-skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 to 5 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as desired

  • For the Quinoa Salad & Vinaigrette:
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 Fuji apple, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

  • For the Apple Cider Glaze:
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  1. Place the quinoa, water, and salt in the pot and stir until combined.
  2. Place all Level 2 ingredients in a medium bowl and toss until fully combined; set aside.
  3. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then evenly coat all sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Place the bottom layer of the Deluxe Reversible Rack in the lower position, over the quinoa, then cover it with aluminum foil. Place the rack in the pot. Place the butternut squash mixture on top of the foil.
  5. Slide the Deluxe Layer through the lower layer’s handles. Place the chicken thighs on the Deluxe Layer. Close the lid and move the slider to STEAMCRISP.
  6. Select STEAM & CRISP, set temperature to 375°F, and set time to 25 minutes. Press START/STOP to begin cooking (PrE will display for approximately 10 minutes as the unit steams, then the timer will start counting down).
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette for the quinoa: Add the olive oil, apple cider, shallot, apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, pepper, and salt in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified.
  8. Next, prepare the apple cider glaze for the chicken: Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the apple cider, rosemary, thyme, garlic, shallot, honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper and whisk until combined. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture has reduced by one-third, approximately 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer a few tablespoons of the simmering liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch to create a slurry. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the apple cider glaze and continue to stir and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon. When the mixture has thickened, remove from heat, and gently swirl in the cold butter.
  10. When cooking is complete, remove the rack layer with the chicken, then the rack layer with the butternut squash.
  11. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add the prepared vinaigrette, apple, feta, cranberries, scallions, and almonds and stir until fully combined. Drizzle the chicken thighs with the prepared apple cider glaze and serve with the quinoa salad and butternut squash on the side.

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