This is the last of the great recipes posted in The Guardian, Eat Well For Less. Click here for the full article.
One pot and you’re good to go. The braised, browned and caramelised meat intensifies and spreads the meaty flavour allowing you to sneak in plenty of protective fibre and veg. Quinoa? Because it’s not that fancy any more and with its low glycaemic index it’s better than eating refined carbs.
Serves 4–6 (good to make a big batch, you’ll want the extra)
chicken 8 skinless, boneless thighs
extra-virgin olive oil
onions 2 large
leek 1 large (or add a third onion)
garlic 6 cloves
ginger a thumb-sized piece
chillies 4 red or green (seeds out for a milder version)
tomato puree 2 large tbsp
honey 1 tbsp
soy sauce 6 tbsp
star anise 1
chestnut mushrooms 2 handfuls
Chinese leaf cabbage ½ a head
quinoa 50g per person
spring onions 4, chopped
Use a heavy cast-iron dish in an oven (preheated to 160C/ gas mark 3) for the best, slow-cooked meltiness. You can also just simmer on the hob.
Roughly chop the chicken into large strips and brown over a high heat with a splash of olive oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan and if necessary brown the chicken in two batches. Stir occasionally but you are aiming to get some crispy caramelised bits on the edges and bottom of the pan to add umami intensity to the dish.
Peel, half and roughly chop the onions into large strips. Do the same with the leek and wash thoroughly to get rid of any muddy bits in the layers. Add to the pan with the browned chicken and start to soften.
Peel and roughly chop the garlic and ginger together with the chillies. Leave the seeds in if you like spice or remove if you prefer perfumed warmth. Add to the pan with the tomato puree. Cook together for another couple of minutes.
Now add the honey, soy sauce, star anise and enough cold water to barely cover (around 2 glasses usually). Bring to a simmer and scrape around the bottom of the pan to dislodge any crispy bits. Place in your preheated oven to slow cook and braise for the next 2 hours.
After 2 hours remove, stir and check the hot pot. You should have a reduced, intensely umami-flavoured sauce. You want this to be strong because it will become diluted by the water in the additional veg. Now add your washed and sliced mushrooms and Chinese cabbage. Return to the oven for another hour.
Towards the end, boil the quinoa separately until the seeds open. Drain and then add straight into the hot pot and stir together. Fish out the star anise and taste for final seasoning – add a final splash of soy sauce if you like. Garnish with finely chopped spring onion for a fresh finish.