Monday, May 17, 2010

Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Recently we have begun to discover the wonders of quinoa, and have enjoyed making all sorts of simple, savory dishes with this super-healthy grain.  Any dish made with quinoa is bound to be hearty and filling; a deceptively small amount will keep your appetite sated and your tastebuds happy.

So when the missus discovered a recipe on one of our favorite blogs, Cooking With Amy, we figured we like quinoa, we like peppers, and we definitely like mushrooms, so why not give this a shot?  The great thing about this dish is how easy it is to make; very little preparation in needed beyond chopping a few veggies and rinsing the quinoa.

For those uninitiated into the realm of quinoa, first thing to note is that it has to be rinsed, thoroughly.  Second, quinoa absorbs an astounding amount of water, so figure on your water to grain ratio being somewhere around 2:1.  As part of an entree for 2 people, 1/2 cup of quinoa is just about right to make your tummy full and happy.  However, there is nothing wrong with making more and having some left over for lunch the next day.

But lets move on to the recipe at hand, shall we?

2 Poblano peppers, cut in half, seeds removed
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of red or white quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 cups swiss chard leaves, shredded
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, liquid included
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine water and quinoa in a saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.  Cover; cook for 15 to 18 minutes until water is completely absorbed.  Remove from heat.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add your olive oil.  Saute onions, mushroom, and garlic for about 8 minutes, until onion is tender.  Add the chard and allow to wilt, it will reduce in volume by more than half.  Add the cooked quinoa and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Once combined, spoon the mixture into the pepper halves.

In a casserole dish large enough to hold the peppers, (an 8 x 8 should do) pour in the canned tomatoes and liquid.  Nestle the peppers into the sauce and top each with a few pinches of chopped pistachio.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

This is a hearty, warm, and simple dish great for a weeknight.  We ate it as our main course, but the peppers could easily be served as a side dish as well.  The one change I would make next time around would be to roast the peppers first and remove the skin; once they had baked the skin was tough and a little bitter, roasting them first would have brought out the sweetness of the peppers.  We used fairly small peppers, which made stuffing a little bit difficult; if you can, find fat peppers that will give you plenty of room to stuff all the goodies inside.

Thanks to fellow San Francisco foodie Amy Sherman for the great recipe.  I hope you all will give this a try and don't be afraid to add your own spin on it.  That's what cooking is all about.  Enjoy!


Amy Sherman said...

I'm so glad you liked the recipe! Sorry the skins were a bit bitter. I think sometimes they are less bitter and sometimes more bitter. Not sure why that is.

Joel said...

Thanks Amy... it really was a great dish. I should have thought about roasting the peppers and peeling them before hand, but c'est la vie! Thanks again for the great recipe.