Quinoa? Hot summer days come with light dishes

Quinoa? Hot summer days come with light dishes

Summer is finally here and it is HOT.

I hope everyone out there is still cooking up a storm, enjoying the warm temperatures, the cold drinks and the great food. I am almost pretty sure that you have your grills going every weekend.  

If you want to take a break from a grill, Let me give you a dish that’s light and healthy ,try this dish out for the weekend.

This dish is based off a previous last minute dinner I had done for me and my girlfriend. She absolutely loved the quinoa and what was in it. My only problem was I couldn’t recreate it the next day because I had used up all of my Brussel sprouts. The following day I remembered that I had a pound and a half of broccoli in my fridge, so I used that. Quinoa is very diverse and can be eaten cold or warm. I love it among the many other alternative grain with rice - I think Orzo is number one for me.

Anyways, enough chitter chatter, let’s get to cooking this dish!

Braise & Sauce

  • ¼ rutabaga
  • 3 Scallions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 branch rosemary
  • Bunch of spinach
  • 10 to 15 chicken thighs
  • ¼ tsp. fennel seeds
  • Seasoning salt
  • 6 Cups Brown chicken stock/white
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Quinoa

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 heads broccoli
  • 1 apple
  • ¼ tsp Cumin
  • Basil
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  •  

Please turn your oven on to 400 degrees.

Measure your Quinoa and give it a good rinse. Leave it to drain in a fine mesh strainer until you are ready for it. Cut your broccoli florets into really small pieces so they look little tiny green trees and save them in a bowl. Small dice your cucumber (try and keep those cuts the same size, practice makes perfect) and keep them separate for now. Peel and small dice your apple (be sure to keep it in lemon water or else it will oxidize and get brown).
Season your chicken with salt (seasoning salt instead if you have it), and black pepper. You want to give the chicken a good sear. So place them in a pan skin side down. As they are cooking get a braising dish or Pyrex big enough for the braise. Place them in the dish once they are all done. Peel & cut your rutabaga, scallions, add them with the chicken. 

Get a small pot, pour 4 Cups of stock, add your rosemary, garlic and fennel seeds. Bring it up to a boil (this will help cut down the cooking time in the oven). Pour in the braising dish, add a little bit more salt, place a lid and put it in the oven for one hour.
Back to the quinoa! Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a medium size pot, once it’s warm, add your quinoa, give it a light toast. Season with salt and pepper and add the remainder of your stock into it. Bring the Quinoa to a boil then turn it down to a simmer and partially cover it. Be sure to check it every 5 to 8 minutes just to make sure it hasn’t stuck to the pot.

Just before the Quinoa is finished (it takes at least) give the broccoli a quick Sautee. Be sure not to let the broccoli brown. Check your Quinoa, it should have a slight crunch, use your front teeth to bite it. Once its finished, add everything into a bowl; add the quinoa, apples, broccoli, cucumbers and ground cumin. Now, before I served it I thinly sliced some basil leaves (it’s called chiffonade). You can do the same, not every basil plant is the same so keep tasting and adding if you have to, until the flavor and smell of the basil is subtle.

Back to the chicken! It should be just falling off the bone, just. At the end of the day it  should be soft and that’s all that matters. Take them out of the dish and keep in a separate container. If you can, also separate the liquids & solids in the baking dish. Add the solids into your blender and pour enough liquid to barely cover the solids. As you blend it, add some oil, season it.I added spinach at the last minute, it wasn’t part of the plan but I figured it was going to be a good idea.
I tend to have moments like that, where I do things last minute because it feels like a good idea. 

Grab a hand full and add it to the puree. It should be nice and green. Almost like the hulk (who is by far my favorite superhero of all time). Taste it, adjust to your taste with seasoning and that’s your very green sauce to go with your yummy chicken and your healthy Quinoa!

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