Sunday, 11 November 2012

Braised Chicken with Steel Cut Oats and Chard

We attended a friend's wedding earlier this year.  It was a beautiful evening of celebrating the gorgeous couple and their union.  The venue was fantastic, the views of the city incredible and the food memorable.  I'm still thinking about the savoury steel cut oats served with my meal that night.  Funny how one of the most economical ingredients is what stuck with me.  I think it was the unexpected use that lingers.

Steel cut oats are a favourite breakfast item at our house.  Jos calls them "chewy porridge" and she requests them often.  On weekends I will make a big pot for the week ahead and we reheat as needed on busy school day mornings.  Using oats for supper was a new one for all of us.  I've seen it mentioned in recipes and earmarked a few to try, but until that night in June, I didn't know what I had been missing.
The consistency of the oats becomes a little like risotto.  Creamy and chewy, they are an excellent side to chicken or beef.  I liked this recipe because it was made in one pot and fairly quickly too.  If using a homemade broth, you will likely need to add a little salt to the final dish.  Just season to taste.  If you're not sure about chard, feel free to sub in spinach or kale.  The spinach should be added in the last minute or two of cooking instead.

 Braised Chicken with Steel Cut Oats and Chard

4 cups chard, chopped (reserve stems for another use)
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 boneless chicken thighs
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
3/4 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup water
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat.  When it's hot, add the chicken thighs and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on all sides, turning and rotating, about 10-15min.  Remove the chicken and reserve. 
Add the onion and garlic to pot and cook, stirring about 3-5min, until softened.  Add the oats and cook about 2-3min until oats are glossy.  Add the water, stir and let the liquid bubble away.  Scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the broth and return the chicken thighs to the pot.  Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook.  After 5 min, add the chard and stir around.  After 15min, check to see if the oats are cooked.  If it's becoming dry, add a little more water until oats are cooked through. 
Add the vinegar and stir.  Remove from heat and let rest for 5min before serving.  Fluff wtih fork and serve.  Enjoy!

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