Quinoa and amaranth are both traditional Andean grains with lots of protein and a pleasantly nutty taste. Tiny amaranth grains are especially fun to toast in a skillet - they "pop" into a miniature popcorn-like treat. Popped amaranth is delicious sprinkled on bread or muffins, and in this recipe it becomes the breading for sautéed chicken.This dinner can prepared in one single skillet - first the garlicky kale and tomatoes, then the chicken, then the quinoa - making it an easy, healthy, weeknight supper.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 4-5.
- 1 - 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders, or chicken breasts sliced or pounded very thinly (cutlets)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup popped amaranth
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1-2 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 16-ounce can stewed tomatoes
- 6 cups kale
- 2 limes
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare chicken: Sprinkle the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the flour on a small plate. Whisk the egg with the milk and place in a shallow bowl. Place the popped amaranth in a separate shallow bowl, and stir in 1 teaspoon paprika plus 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt.
- Dip each piece of chicken in the flour, then the egg mixture, and then the amaranth, coating both sides. Set "breaded" chicken pieces aside.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large (12-inch), heavy skillet. Add the minced garlic, cumin, chile powder, and 1 teaspoon garlic salt. Cook over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant and golden.
- Add the tomatoes to the skillet and simmer, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and tomatoes are soft, about 5-8 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, take a handful of the kale leaves and roll them up into a cylinder. Make crosswise slices to cut the kale into thin ribbons. Repeat with remaining kale. Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the kale leaves to the skillet. Squirt the juice from 1/2 of a lime over the leaves, and cook, stirring, until the leaves are wilted and soft, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the greens and tomatoes from the skillet to a plate, and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add several chicken pieces and cook, turning once, until both sides are browned and chicken is cooked through. Squeeze a bit lime juice over both sides of the chicken as it cooks. Remove from heat and place on a baking sheet. Cook the remaining pieces, adding another tablespoon of oil to the skillet if necessary. Cover cooked chicken pieces loosely chicken with foil, and keep warm in a 250 degree oven.
- Add the quinoa and 2 cups of chicken stock to the skillet. Stir, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Check quinoa, adding more liquid if necessary. Cover and cook until quinoa is fluffy and tender. (When quinoa grains are fully cooked, you can see the germ, which looks almost like a little tail curled around the grain).
- Add 3/4 of the tomato and kale mixture into the quinoa, and stir until heated through. Serve chicken cutlets on top of a bed of the quinoa mixture, then top each cutlet with a bit of the tomato/kale mixture and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.