Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Quinoa and Spinach

Quinoa-Stuffed Mushrooms,
Steamed Purple Cauliflower,
and Kabocha Squash
Braised in Soy and Ginger
The grain-like seeds of quinoa (KEEN-wa) were first cultivated by the Incas of South America thousands of years ago. A complete and easily digestible protein, this tiny pseudograin is a scrumptious and nutritious addition to any diet.

I first came across quinoa while seeking vegetarian recipes for our Monday night writers' group suppers, and it's one of the best food finds I've ever made. If you've never tried quinoa, please do. Cook it like rice, and use it as the base of a main course salad, as a side dish, or, as in this recipe, as a stuffing. Look for the pre-washed kind, and don't be afraid to experiment with different colored quinoa "grains."


For the Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

For the Mushrooms:
8-10 portobello mushroom caps             2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil                      3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. soy sauce                                       Salt and pepper

To Assemble the Dish:
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil                      1 10-oz. pkg. fresh spinach,
1 large shallot, chopped                               stemmed, washed, and chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced                        1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1. Combine quinoa and broth in a 2-qt. pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat. Simmer about 12 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and germ of the grain becomes visible. Remove from heat, fluff quinoa, and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, combine oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Remove mushroom stems and gills, rinse briefly, and brush mixture over mushrooms. Place topside up on foil-wrapped baking sheet and let sit at least ten minutes.

Heat broiler and broil mushrooms about five minutes, then turn and broil another 3-4 minutes. (Mushrooms may flatten. Don't worry.) Using a spatula, remove them to a baking pan or oven-proof serving dish, bottom side up.

3.  Heat oil in non-stick skillet. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic. Stir for a minute. Add spinach. Turn gently until wilted. Fold in quinoa, mixing until all the grains are unclumped and coated with oil. Spoon mixture onto mushroom caps. Drizzle liquid in broiling pan over mushrooms. Cover and keep in warm oven until ready to serve. Top with pine nuts and serve with salad and/or vegetables, as desired. Generously serves 4-5.

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