I'm not usually a fan of fusion cuisine - lemongrass-scented kneidlach, anyone? However, I have stumbled across a form of fusion that does work, particularly at this time of year.
I love the Moroccan idea of couscous studded with meats and vegetables. But I've never been that sure about the couscous itself, which has a sawdusty quality to it. Not so quinoa - a South American grain, now readily available in all supermarkets and health food shops which has a delicious, nutty flavour and is highly nutritious into the bargain. Chicken, roasted vegetables and quinoa works perfectly - a perfect marriage of Peru and Morocco - with some Greek flavouring thrown in for good measure in the form of a lemon and oregano marinade for the chicken.
You can choose from a variety of roasted vegetables but I like the combination of onion, pepper, fennel and cherry tomato. This recipe, which serves four, also works beautifully with lamb. You could also serve the vegetables and quinoa as an accompaniment to fish or steak. For a vegetarian version add cubed feta cheese to the vegetable and quinoa mix.
● 1 large onion
● 250g cherry tomatoes
● 2 red/orange peppers
● 1 bulb fennel
● 1kg boned chicken thighs
● 140g quinoa
● 50g pine nuts toasted
● 2tsp dried oregano
● 1 lemon
● Vegetable oil
● To garnish: 1 tbsp chopped parsley
● Salt and black pepper
● An hour before cooking, marinate the chicken pieces in lemon and oregano and refrigerate. Dried oregano is favoured by the Greeks but fresh, finely chopped oregano or marjoram works just as well.
● Pre-heat the oven to
200° C, gas 6.
● Chop the onion, fennel and peppers into 2cm pieces.
● Place the vegetables and chicken into an oven dish and coat with a little oil. Mix well with your hands and season with salt and pepper.
● Roast the chicken and vegetables together for half an hour or until the veg is soft and slightly charred. Halfway through the cooking time, add the cherry tomatoes.
● Cook the quinoa according to the packet intructions.When the chicken and vegetables are cooked, add them to the drained quinoa with the toasted pine nuts and mix well.
● Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
● This dish is equally delicious served cold.