Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chicken Saag-- a delicious way to eat your greens!

 I have a passion for Indian food.  I love the fact that my favorite local Indian restaurant proudly labels gluten free and vegan menu choices, and the spicy food makes my tongue tingle!  So yummy to eat food full of spice that is creamy and delicious and fits within my dietary restrictions!

My sister introduced me to Chicken Saag the last time we ate out together.  This creamy, spinach based curry packed all the flavor of a Tiki Masala, with the hint of sweetness spinach brings to the party.  The mama, how can I get more veggies into my kids, part of me rejoiced!  A whole serving or two of veggies just in a delicious sauce!!!!

My whole foods, plant based eating friend likes to eat the sauce (no chicken) with veggies or spread on a pita.  So much deliciousness.

I adapted this Rachel Ray recipe to suit my family's needs.  Happy Eating my friends!!!

Chicken Saag
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast cut into cubes
1/4 cup salt (for brine)
1 cup water (for brine)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon coriander
2 teaspoons tumeric
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2 lbs fresh spinach (or frozen, thawed and wrung out)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided

Marinate the chicken in the salt and the water for 20 minutes.  Pre-heat oven to 425.  Drain liquid from the chicken. Spread chicken pieces on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

In a hot skillet saute onion, ginger and garlic in the olive oil.  Add spices, tomatoes, and spinach to the skillet, stir together and cook until spinach wilts.  I tend to add the spinach a little at a time so I don't overfill the skillet.  Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock.  Cook until spinach is totally wilted and soft.

Transfer the hot spinach mixture into a food processor or blender (or you could use an immersion blender). Process the mixture until it is smooth and soft.  Add chicken stock to reach your desired thickness.  I like mine really thick, so I tend to stop with about1 cup of stock.  The liquid amount can also vary based on the moisture content of the spinach you use.

Put the spinach mixture back in the skillet and add in the baked chicken.  Cook for 2 minutes more. Serve over rice or with your favorite rice substitute.

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