Herbal Chicken on Red Quinoa
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I was scouring through my recipe binder this afternoon, trying to find something healthy to eat that I haven’t made yet for this blog. Pretty sure I’ll be trying a bunch of untried Pinterest recipes from here on out. Admittedly, my limited repertoire could certainly stand some new material.
Usually, when Bill won’t be home for dinner, I make a salad with some sautéed chicken and call it good.
Tonight I thought I’d make this, because it’s time-tested and so quick and easy. There’s a lot of that going on around here lately!
I am using red quinoa because I had frozen my leftover quinoa from the last time I cooked with it. All I had to do was nuke it for a minute or two. Nice. You can see the original recipe for Three Herb Chicken and Mushrooms by clicking here.
Since I didn’t have to cook rice or quinoa, this dinner wasn’t a big deal to throw together. The most work was trimming the tendons off the chicken tenders. I am very strange about working with raw chicken. It grosses me out and I promise to never put a photo of it in any of my posts!
While I don’t really care for regular quinoa, I really like Red Quinoa. It maintains its firmness and stays fall-apart separate and not mushy. It’s important to rinse it first, because it is coated with a substance called Saponin, which is naturally occurring but can make the quinoa bitter. I cook it in a small saucepan by using 1 cup rinsed red quinoa to 1 1/2 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt. (Many sources will say 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water, but I’m sticking by my guns!)
Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 30 minutes or so, or until all the water is gone and you like how it tastes. The little red quinoa will open up and you’ll see the inside when it’s done. Use a fork or chopsticks to stir it and separate it.
Instead of quinoa, you can serve this chicken over white or brown rice, wild rice mix; whatever floats your boat.
Herbal Chicken on Red Quinoa
Serves TWO (Adjust amounts accordingly)
1-2 chicken breasts, or 6-8 chicken tenders, patted dry
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 to 2 Tablespoons butter, optional
½ sweet onion, diced
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
½ teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
Slurry: add 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 Tablespoon cold water
Squeeze of lemon (optional)
Preheat your oven to 200°.
Heat a skillet to medium high. When hot, add enough Extra Virgin Olive Oil to thinly cover bottom of skillet. You can also add a pat or two of butter to help the chicken brown and give a richer taste to the sauce. If you only use butter, there’s a good chance it will burn, so add at least some olive oil. (Olive oil has a higher smoke point and will help the butter to not burn).
Salt and pepper chicken; sprinkle with thyme.
Cook 6 to 7 minutes (depending on thickness), then flip and continue to cook. After 6 or 7 minutes or so (much less for tenders), remove to a pie plate and place chicken in the 200° oven. Chicken breast is done when the interior reaches a temperature of 165°. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, please do yourself a favor and get yourself one. No more overdone chicken!!! Here’s the thermometer I found on Amazon. And if you bake bread, this is a must.
Turn the skillet to medium low. (Give it time to cool down, or you’ll burn the onion). Add more olive oil to pan and cook chopped onion and garlic, stirring often. If it’s trying to brown, turn down your heat.
When the onion is soft, add bay leaf to onion/garlic mixture. Pour in the ½ cup of white wine. Turn up the heat and let it reduce, as you stir with a wooden spoon. You want a nice boil going on.
Pour in 1 cup chicken broth, and continue to stir.
When it’s reduced a bit, make a slurry by adding 1 Tablespoon cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon cold water. Normally you would add water to powder, but not with this. Measure the water first, then toss in the cornstarch. It’s always a 1:1 ratio to use this slurry to thicken the sauce.
Cornstarch will thicken up your sauce very quickly. You need to cook it for 3 minutes to remove any taste of the cornstarch. But if you cook it too long, it will actually lose its thickening ability and you’ll be back to a thin sauce.
I have no idea why, but that’s the way it is, folks.
Remove your chicken from the oven and add it (along with any juices) back into your sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. You can add a small squeeze of lemon at this point, if you like.
Warm your plates and spoon chicken sauce mixture over quinoa or rice.
Enjoy! Another guilt-free meal. Give yourself a hand!