Friday, November 12, 2010

Colorful Quinoa Concoction

I am quite pleased with myself.

I made for dinner something completely out of the ordinary, and it was quite successful, so I am extra pleased to have concocted something tasty that was out of my comfort zone. I mentioned before that I have accidentally bought fresh Mexican-style chorizo instead of the Spanish-style that I prefer. This time I intentionally bought the Mexican style because it was on super-sale and I figured I could doctor it up to my (Spanish-style) liking.
I succeeded by barraging it with spices and garlic.
Lots of garlic.

Before starting on the meat or veg, measure out 1 cup of quinoa and rinse it well in a sieve. Add it to a pot with 2 cups of water, set to boil, and then bring down to a simmer. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Mexican chorizo is raw. Spanish chorizo comes fully cooked.
Step one: remove the thin casings from the fresh chorizo and chop it into bite-sized pieces.

Add the chopped chorizo to a hot non-stick pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil.
As the sausage browns and cooks, add the following to taste: 
Smoked Spanish Paprika (at LEAST 1 TBSP if not more)
Cayenne Pepper (I only used 1/2 tsp as we don't usually do spicy. Just enough for a little heat in the back of the throat.)
Cinnamon (also about 1/2 tsp)
3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
Salt to taste

While that is becoming delicious, remove the stems from 1 bunch of swiss chard (I used green, but use whatever dark leafy green makes your palate happy)
Give the leaves a rough chop  (until it is almost the size of a mix of baby lettuces) and the stems a finer dice. Give the stems an extra couple of minutes to cook before adding the leaves.

By the time the meat was done cooking my quinoa was cooked as well, so I strained the meat from its oil and placed it in the pot with the hot quinoa. (leave the seasoned oil in the pan)
If desired, you can sprinkle 1 TBSP of olive oil and a pinch of salt in the pot of quinoa before adding the seasoned sausage. I skipped this step as there was a bit of oil left in the pan for the greens.

Place the chopped greens into the pan with the colorful and flavorful oil, season with salt, and cook until wilted. (Remember, stems first.) 
It really wilts down dramatically.
While the greens were wilting, I was grating about a cup of ricotta salata to throw in the dish.
I had a lot of trouble deciding what cheese would work best in this dish. I could not find any queso fresco, which seemed like the logical topping for this, so I chose the subtle salt and tang of ricotta salata, and I was quite pleased with how it all came out. 

I threw most of the grated cheese and all of the wilted greens in the pot with the quinoa and sausage to mix it all thoroughly before spooning it into bowls for devouring.
Topped with a little extra cheese, it really was a very satisfying meal, and an excellent use of quinoa. 
(Something I am always trying to find!)
Try this as a hearty Fall supper, or even a side dish for the holidays!


Jennifer said...

THis sounds fantastic.

Joe Ambrosino said...

I love it, Grasshopper! The food, the daring and the onomatopoeia!

Chuck said...

I bought my first box of quinoa so now I have it AND can pronounce it. This dish looks like a good candidate for first use. Thanks!