Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quinoa with Roasted Peppers & Caramelized Onions

For those of you who have never heard of Quinoa, you don't know what you are missing! You may be asking, 'what is quinoa' or 'where can I find quinoa'? First, quinoa is a seed that is about the same size as couscous. It comes from South America (around Peru) and has been cultivated there for centuries. The special thing about quinoa is that is has a high protein content and it contains a complete protein (very rare in plants.) Quinoa is prepared much like rice (in fact I used my rice cooker to cook the quinoa before combining it with all the flavors. 

Now on to where to find it. When I first heard about quinoa, the only place I could find it was Whole Foods... which was a problem since it was literally hours away! Now I can find it in my local area - which is great since there are only about 10,000 people in my whole county! Each store is different, however I would look in with the grains or with the dry beans, rice and where couscous is located. If all else fails, you can always order it online (I know sells it, but I am sure there are other places that you can find it through as well.)
Quinoa with Roasted Peppers & Caramelized Onions
Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay on FoodNetwork
Roasted Pepper strips:
First, cook quinoa according to package directions (or however you've found works best, as I mentioned above - I cooked mine in my rice cooker.)
While the quinoa is cooking, roast 3 Anaheim peppers. To roast, simply place under broiler for about 5 minutes on each side (or until they get a bit blackened.) Remove to either a paper bag or a freezer bag (please do NOT use plastic storage bags as they can melt.) Let rest for a few minutes.
Once rested, remove to a cutting board.
Cut off the top of the pepper.
Cut down the middle of the pepper.
Then open the pepper up.
Remove the seeds.
These last few seeds are easiest to just pick off with your hand or rinse off under the tap.
Next, remove the skin of the pepper.
Letting it rest in the paper bag or the freezer bag helps the skin to loosen.
Next, cut into strips.
Set aside.
Caramelized Onion:
You'll need 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth - set aside.
You'll also need olive oil,
and butter. It doesn't really matter what brand you use, unless you find one that you like better - then by all means use it.
You need 2 Tbsp butter,
2 Tbsp (or 1/8 cup) olive oil. Place the oils in a saucepan and melt the butter.
You'll also need 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions cut into slices.  Toss them in with the oils, cook over medium heat.
Cook until the onion is translucent. Then add the broth.
Continue cooking until the broth reduces and they start to caramelize.
When they are carmelized, remove from heat and set aside.

Now to put it all together...
You'll need 2 Tbsp more butter...
and 1 Tbsp more Olive oil. You probably could omit this all together if you would like. I will next time I make it.
Next, you'll need Soy Sauce.
1 Tbsp of it.
I got these ready when I was doing the measuring for the caramelized onions, but if you are doing it at different times, go ahead and throw these into a pan.
Over low heat, melt the butter.
You'll also need some fresh parsley - the flat leaf (Italian) parsley.
Coarsely chop 1/4 cup of it. Interesting thing I learned about parsley - it loses much of its flavor when it is dried... so try to avoid it.
Once the butter is melted, toss in the quinoa.
Add the parsley
(and yes my camera was having issues on the color with this... I can't wait until I have a DSLR instead of my point and shoot!)
Next toss in about 1/4 cup of the caramelized onion and the pepper strips - cut into smaller pieces.
Mix it all together and place into/onto serving dishes.
Top with Caramelized onion.
Then the roasted pepper strips.
You could garnish with some fresh parsley if desired.

Original Recipe (I only made 1-2 changes)

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