Thursday, October 18, 2012

Harvest chicken quinoa stew

You might have noticed that I'm on a few food kicks lately (i.e. pumpkin). Well, you can rest easy that this isn't another pumpkin recipe.  It's a kale recipe!

Things between kale and I have gotten really serious these past few weeks.  Spinach used to be my main squeeze, but kale is really coming on strong.  And I love it.

If I were in 6th grade (pre-cell phone era), I'd be stealthily passing kale folded pieces of notebook paper.  On it would be scribbled notes like, "Do you want to be my boyfriend?  Circle one of these: Yes  No  Maybe   Pass back before recess."

If we were in high school, I'd be lingering by kale's locker, batting my eyelashes as he returned from gym class.  (That kale, he's such a fitness nut.)

And, if we were working adults, I'd be in full swoon mode when a lovely bouquet of kale showed up at my office unannounced.  All of the other ladies would be jealous.  Flowers are so last season, boyfriends and husbands of the world.  Kale is in.

In season, too.  I paid 85 cents for this giant bouquet bunch of kale.  85 cents!  Don't call kale cheap; he prefers inexpensive.

And so darn delicious and versatile.  You can throw this tender green into quiches, soups, and even breakfast casseroles.  Oh, and you bet you can roast kale, too.  Goodness gracious!  I'm all hot and bothered just thinking about it.  But that's for another post.

Today is about this stew.  You'll love it so much you'll want to marry it.  (Remember when that was considered some kind of weak threat when you were young?)

It's chock full of good stuff that'll keep you full without filling you out.  Lean chicken, tender vegetables -- the bright orange sweet potato is my fav -- and chewy quinoa, all swimming in the most flavorful broth thanks to the spices and the late addition of salty and nutty parmesan cheese.

I've devoured this soup at three meals so far this week (dinner and two lunches) and still cannot get enough of it.  It's soooooooo tasty!

And, you'll feel good about going back for seconds knowing what a balanced and hearty stew it is.  Perfect to offset that steamy affair yours truly one may have going with the bowl of Halloween candy...

P.S. Speaking of sweets, happy happy birthday to Laura!, someone who actually helped me write and pass said notes in elementary school.  That's right, totally friends for almost 20 years :)

Harvest Chicken Quinoa Stew
(adapted from this recipe)
-serves 6-8

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped carrots (about 1 large or 10 baby)
1/2 cup chopped celery (about 1 rib)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
Ground black pepper
4 cups torn kale (I used more like 5)
1 garlic clove, minced
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat.  Add carrot, celery, and onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add kale and garlic, season with more salt and pepper, then saute for 2 more minutes.  Add chicken broth, parlsey flakes, dried thyme, and bay leaf, then bring to a boil

Add chicken breasts to the pot then cook for 10 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then add sweet potato, russet potato, and quinoa to boiling broth. Place a lid on top, lower heat to medium, then cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked.

Meanwhile shred chicken. Add shredded chicken back to the soup, remove bay leaf, then add parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese, if desired. Use remaining 1 cup chicken broth to add when reheating soup, as quinoa will absorb much of the broth as it cools.

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