This Saturday, I’m going to be running a 30K race – The Midsummer Night’s Run. It’s one of the few races that I run for charity — The Hospital for Sick Children and if anyone wants to sponsor me or donate here’s the link (just had to throw that in there). A big part of preparing for the race, or any physical activity for that matter, is getting a handle on your nutrition. You want to make sure your body is getting the right balance of nutrients and enough energy to sustain you. Part of the fun of running is being able to carb-load, but you want to make sure you’re getting your carbs from a good source as well as getting some protein in. That said, I decided to make a batch of Moroccan Chicken Stew using whole grain teff for a few of my lunches this week.
What is teff exactly? Teff (or Tef, T’ef) is one of the smallest grains in the world, but it’s nutritional powerhouse. It’s packed with iron, calcium and thiamine and is a good source of protein as well. Teff originates from Ethiopia where it is considered a staple. According to Runner’s World, it’s used as the main carbohydrate source by many of Ethiopia’s elite runners. Those of you following the 2012 Olympics know that Ethiopian runner Tiki Gelana won the women’s marathon at 2:23:07, setting an Olympic record in the process.
The stew gets its fantastic flavors from the onions, garlic and spices. My favorite part of making this dish is the smell of the onion, garlic and spice combination. The red wine is optional. Even though I’m not much of a wine drinker, I find the red wine gives the stew extra depth of flavor. Plus, the smell of wine usually brings masses into the kitchen. And I can’t forget to mention the chicken breasts which stay moist and tender and the yummy crunch from the almond pieces. The stew is rich and hearty without being heavy. Don’t worry if you’re looking to make this during the warmer summer months, it’s not going to leave you feeling weighted. The dish is a nice balance of proteins and carbs and even if you’re not a runner, you can’t go wrong with this healthy dish.
Moroccan Chicken Stew
(Yield: 8 servings)
- 1 tablespoon extra virginal olive oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 cup tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
- 6-8 large mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup whole grain teff
- 1 1/2 cups green peas
- 1/2 cup almond slivers
- In a large dutch oven or saucepan, heat the extra virgin olive oil and add the chicken once the oil is hot. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides, remove and set aside.
- In the same pan, cook the onions over medium heat until they are translucent and then add the garlic, cumin and coriander. Stir for 1 minute until the spices are well mixed.
- Next, add the chicken stock, chickpeas, tomatoes, red wine (optional), mushrooms, and salt.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and mix in the teff.
- Reduce heat to low, add the chicken back to the stew, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the green peas and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes or until tender.
- Divide the stew into individual serving dishes and garnish with the almond slivers.
(Source: Bob’s Red Mill)
Recipe notes: To save time, use canned tomatoes that are already diced and peeled but look for one that has no salt added or is low in sodium. If you can’t find no salt added tomatoes, you can rinse the tomatoes to get rid of the excess salt and decrease the amount of salt in the recipe by half. Whole grain teff can be found at bulk or specialty stores like Whole Foods. I bought mine from Bob’s Red Mill.