Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Pot Meal: Spicy Quinoa with Chorizo

Okay, so I dirtied two pots for this one despite the title, but it was still a quick and easy complete meal in a bowl.  You might be wondering if I ditched the whole no animal products thing after reading the title of this post.  While I did not use actual delicious and amazing authentic pork chorizo, I did find this little gem at Whole Foods: Mexican Chipotle Grain Meat Sausages by Field Roast.  Does that sound disgusting to you?  While it was definitely delicious, I completely understand should you choose to make this dish with authentic Mexican chorizo instead.

But wait!  Do you know about quinoa?  Did you just say "kwin-oh-ah" to yourself when you read it?  It's okay, Jeremy did too at first.  Of course I totally got it right the first try, duh...  It's "keen-wa".  Keen!  If you are totally keen on quinoa, you should definitely use it in Stuffed Acorn Squash.  If not, the recipe below is a pretty sweet introduction.

Quinoa is an ancient grain that was a staple part of the Inca diet.  (See how I'm totally using my Latin American Studies degree while blogging?!)  I read that on the box.  Here's some awesome stats on this awesome grain:

  • It's a complete protein in and of itself.  Take that, rice and beans.
  • It's got a nice little "pop" to it when you bite in that gives it a satisfying, toothsome feel.
  • The germ (not like cooties, but like the part that will help it germinate, silly) is this little light yellow tail thing that swirls around the grain to make each one look like a miniature Saturn.  Trippy.
  • Like couscous, it cooks really quickly and is almost fool proof to make.  But it's better for you than couscous, so try using quinoa in your next recipe that calls for couscous.  Look how smart you are.
  • It's delicious!  Did you really need all those other reasons?

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup jarred or homemade salsa verde
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 small onion, chopped
2 links meat free chorizo "sausage"
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

This dish was born out of a need for a comforting bowl of something hot and full of protein, lack of groceries, and a special ingredient that provided inspiration.  I was looking for a quick fix, but if you have more time on your hands, definitely toss in whatever veggies you might have on hand or some chopped garlic to saute with the onions for an added flavor and nutritional boost.

Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth (instead of water) according to package directions.  While that's working, lightly coat the bottom a heavy bottomed pot with the olive oil and saute the onions on medium heat until they become translucent.  Crumble in the chorizo, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and incorporating it into the onions.  The bottom of the pot is probably starting to get little browned bits sticking to it.  You want this.  Wait until you have a good amount of browning going on (but watch to make sure it's not burning) and add in the white wine.  Make sure to use the wine and the steam it's putting off to help you scrub up and incorporate all those yummy brown bits into your mixture.

Sauteed onion, "chorizo", white wine and salsa verde.

Check your quinoa.  If it has absorbed all the liquid, dump it in the pot with your spicy onion goodness.  If not, keep it simmering until the grains are fluffy and the liquid is absorbed, but be sure to watch your onion mixture to make sure it doesn't start to brown again after the wine has evaporated.  If it does, just add in a little water to get those brown bits up again.

Cooked quinoa before combining with onion mixture.

Once you've combined your quinoa with your onion mixture, stir in the salsa verde and fold in the frozen peas.  Don't worry- they'll defrost quickly but still maintain their fresh sweetness and refreshing pop.  Ta-da!  You're all set for dinner.  Scoop out a serving into a bowl and garnish with a sour cream alternative (or plain greek yogurt if you eat it), hot sauce and cilantro if you like.

I can't wait to make something with cinnamon and watch The Family Stone soon.  I'm thinking that definitely needs to happen sometime this week because I can't stop thinking about it.  Now that the time change has happened and it's dark when I get home, I am all about transitioning into holiday mode.  Break out the crafting gear and mulling spices!

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