Sunday, November 11, 2012

Roasted Root Vegetables and Herbed Quinoa Stuffing

One reason I love Fall is because it’s root vegetable time.  Not only are the autumnal lovlies delicious, they look so vibrant and lively when served, especially when mixed together on a plate.  You can almost hear them screaming “we are so good, really, we are, pick us!”

And pick them we did at Foodie’s house this past week.  She made Roasted Root Vegetables and Herbed Quinoa and Red Rice Stuffing.  The quinoa recipe is from Williams Sonoma and, while their recipes are usually very good, they typically require you use something available for purchase at their store.  Foodie, of course improvised.

But before I share the quinoa recipe, a word about the roasted root vegetables.  Foodie’s version included butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, leeks, onions, and for a bright note, she threw in dried cranberries.  She drizzled them with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper and baked them in a 375° oven for 30-40 minutes.  She quickly pan-fried the Brussels spouts first.  Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of root vegetables…don’t crowd them when roasting…they like their space.

Looks like a inviting dish of candy, doesn’t it?

This quinoa recipe is a delicious, gluten-free alternative to a traditional bread stuffing for your Thanksgiving feast.

Herbed Quinoa and Red Rice Stuffing with Kale and Pine Nuts
From: Williams Sonoma

3 cups of quinoa, prepared
3 cups of red rice, cooked , prepared
Unsalted butter for baking dish, plus 3 Tbs.
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bunch Tuscan kale, about 8 oz., stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
Various spices (Foodie used Herbs de Provence)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup chicken stock, warmed
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving (optional)

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the 3 Tbs. butter. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes, adding the kale during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Add the oregano and spices and season with salt. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add the quinoa and red rice, cranberries, pine nuts, lemon zest and stock and stir until well combined.

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then garnish with cheese and serve

Somehow after dinner and during the always enjoyable conversation phase of the evening, the bowl of quinoa found its way right next to me….I kept taking little spoonfuls of this savory little dish until finally the table was cleared.  It’s a good thing because I may have eaten the whole damn bowl!

After dinner, we had a tea from Celestial Seasonings called Roastaroma, a delightful little brew with hints of roasted chicory and barley, chocolate from roasted carob, and a touch of cinnamon and allspice.  A perfect caffeine-free alternative to coffee! 

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