Chicken recipe with spinach, cinnamon and dates
Full of the exotic flavours of the Middle East, this chicken recipe is a simple, fuss-free way to jazz up your supper. The dates and pomegranate give this recipe a delicate sweetness, while the spices add a subtle warmth.
Choose organic, free-range chicken breasts whenever possible. Eating organic, free-range meat (especially chicken) helps ensure the meat you’re eating is more likely to be free from antibiotics and their residues, often used in intensively farmed pork and poultry.
Cinnamon plays a starring role in this chicken recipe. Prized since ancient Egyptian times, cinnamon, with its distinctive aroma and flavour, is rich in a range of unique phytonutrients. These have attracted great interest from scientists. Studies suggest that two of these in particular, eugenol and cinnamaldehyde, have antioxidant, blood-glucose-lowering and anti-bacterial properties.
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- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 4 large soft dates, chopped
- 200g baby spinach
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses or honey
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. In a large non-stick frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic with a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper over a medium heat for 10 minutes or until golden. Add in the cumin, dates, spinach and more seasoning, and cook for another minute or two or until the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat.
- Cut the chicken breasts lengthways without cutting all the way through, so they open like a book. Divide the stuffing between the breasts, fold the breasts back over and place in a shallow baking dish. Rub the cinnamon over the breasts and season well. Drizzle the pomegranate molasses or honey over the chicken and bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve with steamed couscous, freekeh or bulgar wheat, with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon and sprinkling of chopped parsley.