Cinnamon is an ace-in-the-hole flavor that doesn't have to be sweet. It is warm, surprising, and happy. There is a lot of history of using cinnamon in meat dishes throughout the near east and Asia. (ever have Lebanese kibeh or Thai massuman curry?). You can add savory flavors that balance out the sweet aspect of cinnamon: garlic, cumin, allspice, onion, celery, chicken bouillon, smoked paprika. When all is said and done, the cinnamon becomes a rich alto in the chorus, not the soloist.
Sounds fancy, but it's not. It's a very approachable flavor, and our little guy loves it! We use boneless skinless thighs, a rich and flavorful meat that is easy to cut up in finger-food sized cubes that Q gobbles up. He loves to dip the chicken into the aromatic sauce, too. (he's a dipper) This dish can easily be served as an adult meal atop a mound of rice, or with pasta of your choice. We used rice pasta elbows recently and everyone could enjoy the meal together! An added bonus: when you're cooking cinnamon chicken, your house smells amazing.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
handful of cherry tomatoes or a small tomato, chopped (optional)
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (around 10 thighs maybe?)
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon (we use Herb-ox sodium-free which does not have soy or gluten)
1 tsp ground cumin
Dash powdered garlic
1/2 tsp allspice (optional)
1/2 cup pre-cooked sweet potato, cut into bite sized cubes (optional)
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
- In a large saute pan, saute the onions and celery until translucent. If using, add the tomatoes and saute for a couple minutes until they begin to lose shape.
- Add chicken to pan, browning one side first for around 3 - 5 minutes, then flipping.
- While browning, keep yourself busy by stirring the spices (bouillon, cinnamon, cumin, garlic and allspice) to the cup of water.
- Once the chicken is browned on both sides, add the water to the pan. Cook over medium heat for around 15 - 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in the peas a couple minutes before serving. If using pre-cooked sweet potato, add it now too.*
- Serve with rice or allergen-free pasta like rice elbows or even pad thai noodles.
I wish I had pictures of this to share with you, but we gobbled it up too quickly! When I make it again, I'll take pictures and update this post so you can see it.
This is an easy saute / brown / simmer recipe that you can make in between running around the kitchen catching your son to give him hugs, retrieve thrown balls from under furniture, and re-filling sippy cups. Seriously, it's that simple!