There’s something about cinnamon that awakens the senses. For me, it brings back fond memories of Europe – from revelling in tongue-tingling sangria in Spain to licking the plate of my moussaka in Greece. Yes, I associate cinnamon with travel. And because travel is my number one favourite thing to do, cinnamon has to be my number one favourite spice.
Combining the ingredients of cinnamon, all spice and oregano is usually associated with red meat, but it works just as well with chicken too. Enjoy this dish as a delicious, but innocuous to the arteries mid-week dinner.
For the chicken:
3 good sized chicken breasts cut into approx. 3cm wide strips
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps all spice
2 tsps dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
1 can baby beetroots, quartered
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, cut into 2-3cm pieces
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 cup white quinoa
2 cups liquid – either water or chicken stock (I like using chicken stock for a more intense flavour)
50gm Greek feta, cut or crumbled into small cubes
½ tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil – for the quinoa
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil – for the vegies
2 garlic cloves, crushed whole
2 springs rosemary (this is optional, but I like adding it to the quinoa for a deeper flavour)
Step 1: In a fine mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa thoroughly with cool water and drain well. Heat the teaspoon of oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the quinoa. Toast for about 1 minute. Stir in the liquid, garlic and rosemary sprigs. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook covered for 15 minutes. Then take off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork, removing the now leafless woody sprigs.
Step 2: Meanwhile, while the quinoa is cooking, slice the chicken. Place the pieces in a deep bowl and combine with the cinnamon, all spice, oregano, salt, pepper and oil. Mix well and set aside to marinate for a few minutes.
Step 3: While the chicken marinates, chop the vegies. In a medium non-stick frypan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Drop the vegies in, tossing thoroughly for 2 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Continue to stir fry.
Step 4: While the vegies are cooking, heat a large non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in batches (I usually do 2 batches) for about 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown.
Step 5: After the vegies have been cooking on medium-high for about 10 minutes, stir in the balsamic vinegar and honey, then lower the heat to medium. Continue to stir for another 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes glazed and sticky (I usually keep cooking it until my chicken is done).
Step 6: In a medium bowl, layer first the quinoa, then the glazed vegies, followed by the chicken, and finally the feta. Pour over the leftover liquid glaze from the saucepan, and enjoy!