Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken Quinoa with Bell Peppers

Chicken Quinoa with Bell Peppers

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth (or the amount given on the quinoa instructions)

1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 or 4 bell peppers (of any colors), thinly sliced
4 chicken thighs
Kosher salt

Rinse and drain the quinoa. Prepare the quinoa as directed on the packaging, substituting chicken broth instead of water.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and onion. Cook until the garlic is aromatic Рdo not burn! Add Kosher salt and the chicken thighs and saut̩ for a few minutes. When the chicken is about 4-5 minutes away from being fully cooked, add the bell peppers and saut̩ until the chicken is cooked and the bell peppers are limp. If the chicken is cooked and the peppers are still firm, you can reduce the heat to simmer and cover the skillet for a few minutes.

Add the cooked quinoa and toss all the ingredients together. Add Kosher salt to taste. Serve from the skillet.

Some helpful hints:

  • For this recipe, mise en place is SUPER important! This literally means to have everything in place before you start. Mince your garlic and slice your onions and bell peppers before you turn that stove on! No sense in ruining your dish because you were busy trying to cut a bell pepper while your chicken was burning!
  • If you are using chicken broth instead of water with the quinoa (I highly recommend doing so – more nutrients and flavor!!!) make sure it is gluten free. Or better yet? Make your own stock, measure it out in one or two cup increments and freeze it! I have ziplock containers full of one and two cups of my stock! When I have a recipe that calls for it, I just take out my large chicken ice cube and heat it up in a pot!
  • Okay, you CAN cheat to the first helpful hint I said and start preparing your quinoa before you take your knife out. The reason for cheating is because the quinoa is very hands off in the preparation. Just be sure to set a timer so you don’t forget about it!
  • Kosher salt is your friend. Get in the habit of cooking with it – you’ll notice all the flavors really shine when it is used.
  • Don’t have quinoa? Try using rice.
  • A fantastic garnish for this dish finely chopped flat leaf parsley.

And here are instructions on how to slice a bell pepper:

Slice the bottom off the pepper.

Stand the pepper up and cut off the sides, being careful to work WITH the curve of the pepper and not cut into the seeds.

Repeat until the pepper is only the core. Discard the core.

Slice the pepper sides into even strips.

Pepper slices.

Lastly, slice the bottom of the pepper, cut side down. The trick is to arch your knife and cut on diagonals until you reach the center (and cut straight down) and then resume cutting on a diagonal. This part closely resembles cutting an onion.

All done! The above recipe calls for three to four bell peppers, so it is fantastic for practicing your new skills!

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