Friday, 17 August 2012

Mexican chicken stew with beans and lime quinoa

Frikkin' delicious. Those two words best describe this amazing stew.
Shame on me for discovering quinoa so late. I know how this happened. I just thought it will taste too healthy (come on, you know what I mean?). I thought it's difficult to get it right. Trust me, there's something about me cooking grains... Bulghar wheat, rice - massive fail, tears and frustration. After reading about the health benefits of quinoa (tonnes of protein, calcium and fiber) I had to try it. And, what do ya know. I'm a quinoa convert. Fanatic. I found a recipe for warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa. Quinoa salads. Quinoa brownies (whaaaaat?!). You get the picture. Quinoa = awesomeness.

My mum sent me this funny email called 'Women - that's what we're like'. The first line describes me perfectly: I don't read any manuals or instructions. I keep pushing the buttons until it works. Yup. But you know what I discovered? The cooking instructions you see on the back of food packets? Well, turns out they are there for a reason. And cooking quinoa was easy once I actually read and applied them. Ha.

This recipe was my inspiration. I modified it ever so slightly, reducing the amount of chipotle paste (this stuff is hot!) and replacing pinto beans with aduki beans.

To make this frikkin' delicious and healthy mexican chicken stew for two hungry quinoa lovers you'll need:

2 chicken breasts (250-300 g)
1 tsp chipotle paste (if you cannot find chipotle paste, you can use a mix of hot and smoked paprika)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 pepper
2 carrots
small bunch of coriander
1 tbsp sugar
olive oil

1 stock cube
120 g quinoa
1 can of pinto or aduki beans, drained and rinsed
creme fraiche or natural yoghurt, to serve

Start by prepping the veggies. Grate carrots, finely chop onions and garlic and slice peppers into quite big chunks. 

Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan, add carrots, onion and garlic and fry until they soften (about 5 minutes). Add peppers and chipotle paste, a bit of salt and pepper and fry some more.

After about 3 minutes add tomatoes plus a tinful of water and a tablespoon of sugar and a bit of chopped coriander. Leave half of the coriander for garnish.
Slice chicken breasts into long strips and pop into the pan. They should be covered with the sauce. Don't worry about the sauce being watery, it will reduce as the chicken cooks.

Now measure 120 g of quinoa and rinse it with cold water. Add it to the pot and cover with 360 ml of cold water. Crumble a stock cube, pop the lid on, turn the gas on (medium) and cook for 20 minutes. You don't need to stir it, add more water or anything like that - it will be perfectly cooked. Just make sure the gas is medium/low so the quinoa is simmering gently.

Now get yourself a chopping board and two forks. Fish out the chicken strips and shred them, then put back into the pan with the sauce. If the sauce is still watery, turn the heat up a bit to help it evaporate quicker.

Once the quinoa is ready mix it with beans and add zest from a whole lime plus a generous squeeze of lime juice. 

Pop onto a plate, add chicken stew and sprinkle fresh coriander on top. Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt or creme fraiche.

Finger lickin' good. Yup.

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