Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chicken and Kale Stew over Quinoa

After yesterday's 10,000 calorie post, I feel the need to redeem myself with something a little healthier.

I have been in a teensy cooking rut, probably because I've been working my tail off for my totally-unrelated-to-food consulting job.  Like I've said previously, working from home without childcare should be an Olympic event. In fact, last week my 5-year old brought to my attention that he hasn't had any clean underwear in his drawer for "two whole days, Mommy!"   Do you even want to know what my laundry piles look like?  

Ah, well.  I'm grateful for the job.   

Needing a swift kick in the tail of kitchen inspiration, I turned to Sargent Martha Stewart.  I love clicking through the food photos on her site...they always get my motor running.  But cooking is my only talent...I run like the wind from the crafty section of her empire.

This is her (or one of her hundreds of employees') recipe:  I've modified it slightly by using chicken thighs instead of breasts, kale instead of escarole, and quinoa instead of cous-cous.  

It was wonderful all the same!

Begin with a tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or other large pot or skillet.

When the pot is hot, add the diced chicken.  DON'T STIR IT RIGHT AWAY.
Let it get good and brown. 

After about 3-4 minutes, turn it.  Let it cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Then transfer it to a clean plate.

Whatever you do, don't wash the pot yet.  
Those brown bits are the secret to deep flavor.

Slice the onion and the garlic cloves.

Add the onions to the pot first (drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil).

Saute for several minutes until they begin to brown,

and then add in the garlic.

Saute for several more minutes, adding in the oregano.

Then pour in a large can of whole (peeled) tomatoes, crushing each tomato while you stir well.

Return the chicken to the pot,

and then add the kale and cook it down a bit, adding more to the pot as you have room.

While the stew is....stewing, make the quinoa.
Quinoa has a natural sudsy substance on it's surface; always rinse it first.
The ratio is:  1 cup quinoa to two cups liquid. 
Simmer for 15-20 minutes in medium saucepan until all liquid has been absorbed.

Rather than cook it in plain water, I prefer to use chicken stock for extra flavor.

Place a serving of the cooked quinoa in a shallow bowl 
and top with a generous serving of the stew.

Here's the printable recipe.

Chicken and Kale Stew over Quinoa
Serves 4-5

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
1 medium onion, skins removed, halved and thinly sliced 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes in puree 
1 large bunch kale (stalk removed), coarsely chopped 
1 cup quinoa, cooked in two cups of chicken stock 
1/2 teaspoon salt (if needed)

In a Dutch oven or a large, heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in two batches, tossing occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate. 

Add onion to the pot; drizzle with remaining olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 3-5 minutes until slices begin to brown, stirring often.  Add garlic and oregano to pot; cook an additional 2-4 minutes.  (Don't worry if the pot darkens).  Add can of tomatoes (juice and all); crush tomatoes with back of spoon as they are added.  Cook for 8-10 minutes until stew is slightly thickened.  Return chicken to the pot and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 2-4 additional minutes.

Add as much kale to the pot as will fit.  Cook, tossing, until kale begins to cook down.  Add more kale as space becomes available, until the entire bunch has been used, or until the desired amount has been reached.  (It gets pretty "kaley" in there, but it's good for you!)

Prepare quinoa according to package directions, substituting chicken stock or broth for the water.  Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary.  

Serve stew over quinoa. 

Recipe slightly adapted from here