Quinoa’s time is here
By no stretch would I ever be called a healthy eater: I love the four Bs (burgers, butter, bread, and bacon). At the same time, I am the main chef for the family, with two small kids, so I try to make sure that we have a balanced meal with a good helping of vegetables – broccoli and/or zucchini are found on most dinner plates. When picking the starch portion of the meal, usually pasta, rice or potato, I now find myself reaching more to quinoa, a gluten-free grain that some say is the world’s healthiest food. Now that quinoa can be found at a more reasonable price here in Budapest, why not give it a try? Here is a dish you can make that won’t take too much time and is quite tasty.
Chicken with Mushroom and Garlic Quinoa
- 180g quinoa, rinsed
- 400g boneless chicken thighs, sliced into strips
- 250ml chicken stock
- 250ml water
- olive oil
- 0.5 kg cremini (brown, but white will work) mushrooms, sliced
- 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- Combine chicken stock and water in pan, bring to a boil, then add quinoa and cover, Simmer for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa has opened.
- Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Add a glug or two of olive oil and brown chicken in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan.
- In the same pan add another glug of oil, mushrooms, and salt. Cook about 5 minutes then add the garlic, cook for 6-8 more minutes until mushrooms are sufficiently cooked through. Add chicken and cooked quinoa. Remove thyme leaves from stems and sprinkle on dish.
- Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.
- Quinoa needs to cook in slightly more than twice its volume of liquid. 1 cup quinoa plus 2 1/3 cups liquid.
- If you have the quinoa that comes in a boil bag, just take it out of the bag and measure into a cup.
- By the end of cooking, the liquid should be absorbed. Extra can be added while cooking if needed.
Did You Know?
- It’s pronounced Keen-wah
- Quinoa is a grain-like edible seed. It is a pseudo-cereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the true grass family.
- Quinoa seeds are coated with saponin, a bitter substance that protects the seeds from predators. Sometimes they come pre-washed but it’s still better to make sure.
- Quinoa is complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.
- Andean peoples in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Bolivia first cultivated quinoa some 7,000 years ago.
- 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein.