Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa

I LOVE Mediterranean cuisine. It is definitely a family favorite too. I love the flavors, the aroma, and the health benefits. I think my love affair with this cuisine began when I worked for a local family owned Greek restaurant in high school. The restaurant made everything right there in the kitchen, some of which I actually got to prepare. It was my first experience with trying new and unfamiliar ethnic food. I was always a cheeseburger and pizza girl in high school, so trying new things like moussaka, falafel and souvlaki was a stretch. By far, my favorite dish there was the chicken souvlaki. It is a grilled marinated chicken that is so flavorful a and so moist, it practically melts in your mouth. This dish is my homage to that time in my life and my own take on some of the things I learned.
Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa
Active: 30-45 min, 4 hours inactive

4 chicken breasts, cut in to strips

1/4 c red-wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 c quinoa
1 1/2 c chicken stock
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp white truffle oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, julianne
1/2 medium onion, strips

1/4 c feta cheese
2 sprigs of Italian parsley for garnish

In a gallon size storage bag, marinate chicken strips in the marinade for at least 4 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Prep and cut bell pepper and onion.

Soak quinoa fine mesh sieve inside of a large bowl of cold water. Rinse the quinoa in cold running water. This will release any of the saponin remaining on the quinoa which can give it a bitter flavor.

In a 2 quart pot, bring quinoa, garlic and chicken stock to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on. Add white truffle oil, fluff quinoa gently with a fork, salt and pepper to taste. Keep covered until chicken and vegetables are cooked.

Over medium-high heat, cook your chicken in a ridged grill pan (Cook half of the chicken at a time and cover cooked chicken with foil if the pan will not fit all the chicken at once.) or plancha grill for approx 4 min on each side, until chicken temp reaches 165 degrees. Cover chicken with foil and set aside.

Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil in your hot pan and add the bell pepper and onion. Grill vegetables for approximately 4-5 minutes until onions become slightly translucent.

Serve chicken and grilled vegetables over quinoa and garnish with feta cheese and Italian parsley. Enjoy!!

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