October 3, 2011
Finally, finally, there is a nip in the air around here.
Never thought I’d see the day that I’d cheer 86 degrees as “cool weather,” but I’m not complaining. After months of brutally hot temperatures, we are opening our living room windows, throwing the ball for the dog in the backyard once again, and wearing our cowboy boots instead of flip-flops.
And, of course, there’s a whole crop of autumn foods that I can’t wait to make and eat as the temperature (hopefully) continues to drop: apple things, cinnamon things, bread-y things, braised and roasted things.
In the meantime, here’s a “bridge” meal of sorts—fall-esque without stealing the thunder from true cold-weather dishes. Bonus? It’s the kind of vegetarian dish that my carnivorous spouse will happily eat, without missing the meat too much.
adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2010
We’ve gotten really into quinoa lately—which is a really crunchy-granola-Birkenstock-Prius-thing for me to say—unless I add that we are lately cooking our organic quinoa (giant bag at Costco for cheap!) to go alongside the fresh doves that Jill is bringing home from the field on weekend nights.
In any case, we have been substituting quinoa for all kinds of other things: rice, noodles, and couscous, with great results. So when I saw this quinoa recipe in an old magazine, I knew I wanted to try it.
The original recipe calls for the use of fresh thyme, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I subbed in scallions. The use of thyme would, of course, be consistent with the more traditional risotto method/flavors.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock, vegetable broth, or water
1 cup chopped onion OR ½ cup chopped shallot
1 cup dry white wine
1-2 cloves garlic
2 cups sliced assorted mushrooms (shiitake, crimini, and/or white button)
chopped fresh scallion, for garnish (optional)
grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil, butter
Bring the stock, broth, or water to warm in a medium saucepan. In a separate saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the quinoa and toast the grains, stirring frequently until aromatic. Pour in the warm stock and bring the quinoa + liquid mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook until the quinoa has sprouted and the water has been absorbed, ~12 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat 1 T each oil & butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion or shallot and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and stir briefly before adding the mushrooms and thyme. Toss in some more butter if you feel like it—this is supposed to imitate a risotto, after all—and cook until the mushrooms are tender, ~5 minutes. Add the wine and increase the heat to medium-high; stir the mixture until the wine has reduced and what’s left in the skillet looks syrupy, ~2 minutes.
Add the quinoa to the mushroom mixture, tossing in the scallions, if using. Season with salt and pepper (but keep the Parmesan in mind when salting). Serve with plenty of Parmesan on the side.