Poached Chicken Breast with homemade Pesto tossed in Warm Spinach leaves & Quinoa
(Recipe: Contains Nuts & Dairy)
Mise En Place:
- Chicken Breast 3 Large
- Quinoa 12 oz.
- Spinach Leaves Fresh 2 cups packed
- Pesto: Estimate 4 servings
- Sweet Basil 3.5 oz.
- Garlic Cloves 2 Med-Large
- Pine Nuts 2 Tbsp (Substitute for Walnuts, Almond) optional
- Parmesan Cheese 3 oz. (2 Tbsp)
- Roma Cheese 3 oz. (2 Tbsp)
- Olive Oil (Extra Light or Mild) ¾ cup
- Butter 2 Tablespoons (optional)
- Kosher Salt to taste
Step 1: Chicken: Poach 3 large chicken breasts, after cooking wrap with paper towel to absorb any excess liquid. Let cool & cut into equal sized cubes & put aside.
Step 2: Add oil to water for quinoa – add grains and butter then lower heat and cook covered for 25min. Put aside.
Step 3: Pesto: Cut basil, gently wash & drain combine in a blender with garlic cloves, walnuts (or pine nuts) and olive oil – blend smooth texture (do not thin) – transfer to a mixing bowl then stir in freshly grated romano & parmesan cheeses.
For Authentic Pesto Making:
Using mortar & pestle, mince the peeled garlic cloves until soften and oil releases. Continue with each added ingredient, grinding into until there’s a smooth consistency paste (layer by layer).
Add in kosher then pine nuts, divide mixture into seperate bowl equally dividing mixture. added in cheeses, basil combine both mixtures in med size bowl gently stir in olive oil.
Step 4: Transfer chicken cubes in the pesto until well coated – add fresh spinach (whole) – last gently stir in Quinoa. Transfer to a deep bowl & serve warm.
This recipe makes a warm, hearty bowl that’s “good for you” comfort food especially on chilly nights.
Chef Tip #1:
When making the pesto, the basil has a boastful aroma. To cut roll stack leaves, roll tight and slice thinly in diagonal form. After blending ingredients the basil should transition into a liquid form just “mildly” loose not soup consistency and be smooth in texture.
Chef Tip #2:
In cooking it’s imperative to gauge the quantity of your ingredients. Use perception as far as the amount to combine in comparison to the number of service, as serving size varies from one person to another. So use judgement and adjust the main ingredients here:
Go light first then continually add to the product until it’s appropriately balanced.
Chef Tip #3:
Always buy cheeses solid instead of pre-shredded as the quality is preserved uncut.
Then when gathering ingredients, freshly grate the cheese. Now not only are the aromas immediately released but the intensity of flavor is added as well.
Relish in the still moments of preparing meals that will nourish your body and warm your soul.