Sunday, February 22, 2015

Squash stuffed with Quinoa

I have come to like quinoa quite a lot.  It is an easy grain to work with and maintains a light fluffy property when working with it.  I only wish that is was cheaper than it is, but I still must buy it from time to time to get my fix.  I have used it in pancakes, stuffed in squash, and as a salad.  Since it is a grain, it is filling, but you can add a meat if you feel like you want some protein.  This particulary recipe is based off one from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.  There are a lot of great recipes in this book, though I have only attempted a couple of them.  More will certainly be tried when we have a better chance at fresh vegetables...meaning spring.  One of the things that gives this recipe such excellent flavor is the boiling of quinoa in black tea.  If you are thinking you want more flavor for your grains this is a great way to add flavor.  I sometimes add stock to my rice or other variations of adding flavor to the grain as you are cooking it so it absorbs that flavor as the grain is cooked.  Experiment and enjoy!

Quinoa Stuffed Squash
2 winter squash (small spaghetti, acorn, etc.), cut into halves and removed the seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 black tea bag
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup red quinoa
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup pecan, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 450F. Cut a little off the squash if they don't lie properly, so that they will stay flat while in the oven and the filling won't spill out.  Put the squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet and brush lightly with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle the cavities with brown sugar, half the salt and the pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender.

While the squash are roasting, bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Remove from heat and steep the black tea bag for 3 minutes.  Remove tea bag.  In another medium saucepan, heat the other 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.  Add the scallions, garlic and cook for about 2 minutes or until tender.  Add the quinoa, brewed tea, thyme and 3/4 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and liquid has been absorbed.  Stir in the butter and pecans.

Divide the quinoa into 4 among the squash halves.  Tent loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until very tender.

Serves 4

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