Chicken and Quinoa with Figs, Spinach and Mint
Jennifer Daskevich - Los Angeles
6 Foster Farms chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into bite-sized chunks
6 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
7 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
6 cloves California garlic, divided
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped and divided
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp salt, divided
1 cup quinoa
2 large shallots, minced
½ cup dried California mission figs, halved
2 cups filtered water, divided
3 cups California spinach, chopped
In large plastic bag with zipper lock top, place chicken. Remove leaves from three sprigs of thyme and mince. In small bowl, whisk together five tablespoons olive oil, juice and zest from lemon, two minced garlic cloves, thyme, one tablespoon chopped mint, black pepper and one teaspoon salt. Pour mixture over chicken, turning to coat well. Set aside and allow to marinate for 30 minutes or up to one hour.
Rinse quinoa well and drain thoroughly. In medium saucepan over medium heat, toast quinoa for two minutes. Add one teaspoon salt and one and three quarters cup water to quinoa; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 12 – 15 minutes. Remove quinoa from heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
While quinoa is cooking, warm remaining two tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat in large skillet. Add shallot and remaining salt; saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic and stir for additional minute. Add figs, remaining one-fourth cup of water and remaining three stems of thyme. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and add to fig mixture. Continue to cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove sprigs of thyme.
Fluff quinoa with fork and transfer to skillet. Stir well to combine. Add spinach and remaining mint, stirring gently to incorporate all ingredients.