This super delicious, low-fat and easy chicken and spinach recipe is made in a skillet and will be your next favorite dinner!
So, yesterday was probably my best day ever, because the finalists for the Saveur Blog Awards were announced and The Hungry Bites is one of the six in the Best New Voice category!!! Yes, this blog! If someone told me ten months ago, when I was starting The Hungry Bites, that this would happen, I would simply laugh! But here we are! There are a lot of things I want to say about this honor and about my (short) journey so far, but I am afraid I will tire you. I will only say that for me, blogging is a journey where I get to make a lot of friends, be creative, explore new worlds and conserve some of my heritage and culture. (And eat some good food along the way!) But it is also a journey filled with self-doubt, anxiety about whether I’m good enough or not, and exposure of myself. That’s why this nomination is very important to me because it’s like someone is saying to me:
“I see you, you’re doing a good job”.
Before continuing on with the chicken à la spanakopita recipe, please allow me to thank Akhila from Pepper Delight, who was one of my first friends and the one that first nominated me for the Saveur Blog Awards 2017. Thanks, Akhila!
Also, let me introduce you –if you haven’t met them already – the rest of the amazing finalists for the Best New Voice 2017 category:
Sara from Add a little lemon and her amazing writing.
Kathryn from Cardamom and tea nailing modern Assyrian cooking.
Maryam from Pakistan Eats celebrating Pakistani cuisine.
Esteban from Chicano eats and his bold, vibrant images.
Ankiet from Belly over mind with his nostalgic, moody shots.
And don’t forget to visit the Saveur Blog Awards and vote for your favorite blog! You can vote multiple times in each category through September 6th (vote ended!), and of course, it wouldn’t heart if you voted for me a few times! 😉
After this pappardelle à la spanakopita recipe, which turned out soooo good, I knew I had to play with the concept of spanakopita for one more time. And since chicken is a favorite ingredient of mine, a chicken skillet recipe that comes together in no-time was more than obvious! This dish is perfect for a weeknight dinner since it can be made in less than 30 minutes and you only need one deep skillet to get the job done! You can serve it with thick slices of toasted bread with olive oil, tomatoes, and oregano (you can see how pretty they are in my baked eggs in potato nests post) or with some fluffy rice. Oh, and I know I have probably overdone it with the toasted breadcrumbs in these pictures, but trust me this chicken tastes way much better than it looks!
As you probably know, spanakopita is the Greek word for spinach pie. It is usually made with phyllo and it’s one of the most famous Greek recipes. Every time my mom wants to make it, she takes a walk to the country side and harvests wild greens and aromatics. Yes, she doesn’t just use spinach, because spinach has a rather neutral taste. She wants depth of flavor, so she makes sure to gather a couple of different varieties of greens, other sweet, other bitter and some with an intense aroma. I won’t make you go and harvest wild greens and aromatics from the countryside, but I will ask you to get some leeks, a few green onions, a large onion, and some chives if possible. And of course some good feta cheese!
The basic concept of this recipe was to make something like a spinach pie with chicken but without all the fuss. For this purpose, toasted breadcrumbs are wonderful, because they save you all the trouble of managing the phyllo sheets and baking the pie while at the same time they provide all the taste that normally the phyllo provides but with less oil/fat (= fewer calories)! Other than that, the chicken breasts are cooked with some olive oil and then get mixed with the ingredients typically used for filling the spanakopita.
You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free bread crumbs.
When sautéing onions, it is a common practice in Crete to add some water. This helps the onions not to burn, especially if using high heat.
Cook the chicken pieces in one layer without turning them until they brown well and caramelize from one side. Then flip them and continue until cooked through.
When adding salt, take into consideration the saltiness of the feta cheese.
- 1 cup bread crumbs (use gluten-free if you can’t eat gluten)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame
- 1 teaspoon black sesame
- 1 whole chicken breast (2 halves) without the skin (about 1.5 pounds / 650 grams), cut into 1-inch cubes (approximately)
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, chopped (the white and some of the green part)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1-2 green onions, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chives, chopped
- 4-5 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Place olive oil and bread crumbs in a deep skillet and heat over medium/high heat, stirring constantly until well browned and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Add the sesame and black sesame and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet, transfer chicken pieces and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté in one layer over high heat until golden brown on one side, then flip and cook the other side (about 3 minutes each side).
- When you are sure that the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.
- Cook the leek, onion, and green onions with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes. If you notice it starts to burn, add a splash of water.
- Add the spinach, chicken, chives, salt, and pepper and cook stirring often until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes.
- Add feta cheese and stir just until it starts to soften.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately, topping with the bread crumbs.
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