I hit a new culinary milestone today! I cooked with quinoa for the first time. I was a bit skeptical, but it turned out to be good and simple enough to prepare. Plus, it is by all accounts a nutritionally and environmentally sound choice (the UN has deemed it a supercrop), so it is definitely worth adding to one’s repertoire. The following recipe is a modified version of the one found in the Whole Grain Recipes Company’s Coming. It was quite enjoyable, and very filling. It could very easily be modified to make a vegetarian stew (quinoa is a good source of protein by itself) or pork or beef could be substituted for the chicken.
- a splash of olive or other cooking oil
- 3-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes (stews are great, because they let you reduce your overall meat consumption while keeping that great flavour)
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
- minced garlic or garlic powder, to taste
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped (and blanched and peeled, if desired, but I think that’s just extra work)
- 2-3 cups chicken broth, depending on the desired consistency of the stew
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- basil, oregano, chili powder, rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (do not omit this step, quinoa seeds are encased in a natural insect repellent which is a lovely feature on the field, but less of one in your supper)
Fry the chicken in your stew pot on medium-high heat, and set it aside. In the drippings, fry the onion and celery for 5 minutes, until onion starts to soften. Add chopped pepper and stir for another minute. Add tomatoes and fry for another minute, then add broth, tomato paste, and spices. Bring to a boil, add chicken and quinoa, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, until quinoa is tender.