Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baked Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chard and Quinoa

This is just plain delicious.  After a few weeks of summer salads nearly every night for dinner, I took advantage of the cooler weather to make something a little more hearty, though still fresh tasting.  The chicken breasts stay nice and moist with the fresh herbs imparting delightful flavor and the natural tanginess of the chard is rounded out with a hint of cream.

- 1 boneless chicken breast (get a nice, plump fresh one, not some scrawny, frozen cutlet)
- 4 fresh sage leaves (or more if they're small)
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano
- 2 tbsp crumble feta
- a drizzled of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of pepper

- 2 c. loosely packed shredded chard
- 1/2 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 c. chicken broth
- 1 tbsp cream
- dash of salt and paprika

- 1/4 c. quinoa (I used red quinoa)
- 1/2 c. water
- dash of salt

- Score the chicken breast on both sides and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Place the chicken in small casserole dish.
- Tuck two of the sage leaves under the breast, place two on top, and sprinkle the chopped oregano on top.
- Drizzle with a just a little bit of olive oil.
- Add the crumbled feta to the top of the chicken breast.
- Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, broiling in the last few if the feta needs help browning.  I baked mine in my toaster oven, (it wasn't quite cool enough to want to heat up my kitchen), so time in a real oven may vary.  Use your good judgement.

- To chiffonade your chard, remove the spines, stack the leaves, roll them up, and chop the roll.
- Sautee the chard in a skillet with the 1/2 tbsp butter, salt, and paprika until thoroughly wilted.
- Add the cream and chicken broth and simmer over low heat.
- Cook until the liquid is reduced, stirring occasionally.  For a slightly finer texture, mash the chard a bit with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  You could certainly puree it in the blender, but I liked it rather 'lumpy'.

- Combine the quinoa, water, and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
- Pour any juices from the chicken casserole dish over the quinoa to serve.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it actually comes together quite simply and relatively quickly with the three components cooking simultaneously.  It's also easily multiplied to serve several people.


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