Chipotle chicken with quinoa

There are a couple of slightly specialist ingredients in this recipe – chipotle paste and harissa – but it is well worth acquiring them if you don’t have them already. They will last for ages in the fridge and they are really versatile so it is very unlikely they will go to waste. They are both available from Waitrose and both are in stock. Chipotle is one of their ‘Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients’ and can normally be found with the herbs and spices. I use Belazu Rose Harissa, which can be found with the Middle Eastern ingredients. Either one would add great flavour to a tray of roast vegetables too. Rose harissa goes beautifully with lamb as well.

Three recipes in one – each component of this recipe could be used separately or in other recipes.

  • The harissa tomatoes would be delicious with wilted spinach and a poached egg or some sausages and green vegetables.
  • The chicken could be served with a green salad and some new potatoes.
  • The chicken marinade would be great for barbecued chicken – for this you would ideally need skin-on, bone-in joints of chicken e.g. chicken drumsticks or thighs.
  • The quinoa mixture is ideal as a stand-alone salad. Add some cooked, sliced chorizo for extra punch.

Serves 2-3

For the chicken

  • 4 skinless boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 1 lime, juice only

For the roast tomatoes

  • 6-8 vine-ripened tomatoes (depending on size)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • salt and pepper

Other ingredients

  • 150g quinoa (white, black & red or plain white)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 30g baby spinach leaves
  • 5 spring onions, sliced
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped
  • ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  1. With a sharp knife, make slits in the chicken thighs on both sides. Rub with the olive oil, chipotle paste and juice of 1 lime. Cover and chill for 2 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 C / Gas mark 6. Halve the tomatoes and put them in a single layer in a small roasting tin. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cumin and harissa and pour it over. Turn the tomatoes over to coat. Leave cut side up and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes until caramelised in patches and slightly shrunken.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in cold water then put it into a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat a little, cover with the lid and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until just cooked. (It mustn’t have a gritty texture but equally it mustn’t be at all soggy.). Keep a close eye on it as it can become overcooked quite quickly. Halve and stone the avocado, slice into chunks and scoop out with a spoon. Season and squeeze over the juice of half a lime.
  4. Heat a griddle or frying pan until really hot, add the chicken and fry for 2 minutes, turn over and cook for 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning once, until cooked through. Slice the chicken.
  5. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork, season and put into a large bowl or serving dish. Mix in the chicken, baby spinach, spring onions, coriander, avocado, the juice of the remaining lime, the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Sit the roast tomatoes in amongst the quinoa and serve.