Quinoa Risotto with Roast Chicken and Chard

Chicken with Quinoa and baby chard1 (1 of 1)

Don’t you just love those days when you pull a fab meal out of seemingly nothing?

I’m usually pretty well prepared when it comes to meal times and ingredients, but for one reason or another, the only thing I had down for tea this day was ‘chicken’.  Hmmm not very helpful.

So I started with my chicken.  I wasn’t in the mood to face the washing up for a full on roast, but I put the chicken in the oven anyway with a bit of seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil.

Whilst searching through the cupboards for inspiration, I came across not one, but three opened bags of quinoa.  It must have been a sign.  So I decided I was going to cook the quinoa in the juices left from the roast chicken.  I also grabbed a good handful of baby chard, growing in the veg pots at the front of the house, and a bit of broccoli sitting all by itself on the shelf in the fridge.

One or two other bits and pieces, and this yummy meal was made!

 Quinoa Risotto with Roast Chicken and Chard serves 4:

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken – at least 1.5kg
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed slightly
  • Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 240g quinoa
  • Splash of white wine
  • 480ml boiling water
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 100g red baby or young chard (it’s important to use baby or young chard, as regular chard takes longer to cook plus you generally need to cook the stem for longer than the leaves)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g grated cheese (I used cheddar, parmesan would be good too)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190c.  Put your chicken in a roasting tin, pour on the olive oil and spread it around.  Sprinkle a good pinch of salt and black pepper on top.  Juice your lemon, and put the juice to one side, then put the leftover lemon skin inside the chicken along with the two garlic cloves.  Put the chicken in the oven and cook at 25 mins per 500g, plus an extra 25 mins.  So if you’ve got a 1.5kg chicken, it needs to be cooked for 1 hour 40 mins.  Baste the chicken twice during the cooking time.  Once cooked (you can double check this by sticking a skewer deep into the thigh. If the juice comes out clear, it’s cooked), take the chicken out of the oven, place on a chopping board, then cover in a piece of tinfoil and a tea towl.  Leave it to rest whilst you’re preparing the rest of the meal.
  2. Put the roasting tin on the hob on a low heat, add in the quinoa and mix to coat the quinoa in the chicken juices.  Add the splash of wine, let it bubble for a minute then add in the water.  Bring to a boil and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes, mixing every so often.
  3. Taste your quinoa at this point, it should be nearly cooked.  Add another splash of water if it’s looking dry.  Add in the broccoli and baby chard, give it a stir to coat and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.  The broccoli will still be quite crunchy at this point.  You could add your broccoli earlier, or put it in the microwave for a few minutes before adding it in if you like your broccoli softer.
  4. When the quinoa is almost ready, take the foil off the chicken, and pour any chicken juices into the quinoa (giving it a quick stir).  Discard the garlic and lemon skin, slice the chicken up quite thinly and put to one side.  Add the lemon juice, the cheese and a good pinch of salt and pepper to the quinoa.  Give it a stir, and then divide between four dishes.  Top with the sliced chicken and serve.

**Tip1** any leftovers can be cooled, covered and refrigerated.  These can be eaten with 2 days either cold or reheated in the microwave until piping hot.

**Tip2** it’s definitely worth boiling up the leftover chicken carcass to make additional stock.  You can do this by putting the carcass in a large pan, fully covering with cold water.  Then add seasoning, a bay leaf and  a bit of veg (a carrot chopped in two (no need to peel) and a chopped stalk of celery or half an onion (no need to remove the skin)).  Bring to the boil, and then leave to simmer gently for 3 hours before cooling slightly and sieving over a bowl.  The stock in the bowl can be cooled and then refrigerated or frozen for use in soup/gravy/risotto etc.  Discard the chicken and veg left in the sieve.

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