Just a couple days ago I posted on pantry and fridge staples which included a personal favorite: quinoa. I find that I eat quinoa far more often than I do rice, partly because it is healthier and partly because I got tired of rice. I’m sure at some point I’ll get tired of quinoa, but I find that quinoa is a great substitute for pasta in some cases. In this particular case, I made a quick and basic tomato sauce with a mirepoix, mushrooms and red pepper along side boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
While dark meat chicken is a bit less healthy, going with the boneless, skinless variety helps out some. There still was some fat that I had to trim off, but I left a little bit on to ensure a nice sear in the pan. In some ways this dish is a little bit like chicken cacciatore, but I don’t really cook the chicken in the pot with the sauce, therefore I wouldn’t classify it as such. This meal could easily be made without chicken and instead making another protein, but I think the succulent dark meat chicken goes great.
2 medium carrots, medium dice
1 large yellow onion, medium dice
2 large celery rib, medium dice
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (whole peeled are ok too, just crush them by hand)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 crimini mushrooms, stems roomed, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 sprig rosemary, stem removed, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
3-4 sprigs thyme, stems removed, finely chopped
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions (2:1 ratio of water to quinoa)
4-6 chicken boneless, skinless chicken thighs (depending on size)
1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other oil, just not olive)
salt and pepper
In a medium size dutch oven, or high rimmed sauce pan, heat oil over low heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and red pepper. Sweat vegetables for about 7-8 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add oregano, thyme and rosemary and cook one minute longer. Add tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir well, increase heat slightly to a low simmer and nearly cover pot, leaving a small opening.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Add to pan once oil is hot and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes and then flip. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes and then add chicken to pot with the tomato sauce. Coat chicken well with sauce and continue to cook until chicken is tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 5-10 more minutes.
While chicken is cooking cook quinoa according to box directions. Typically 1 cup dry quinoa with 2 cups water and a pinch of salt.
Serve quinoa along side chicken and tomato sauce.