I am always on the lookout for new dishes to try out and/or tweak. Enter the Peruvian Quinoa Stew. I went out to dinner with a friend and I was just craving a nasty, crappy burger. My friend, Craig, tries to be healthy whenever he can be (he trains at a Krav Maga gym and is a total beast;)), so he orders the PQS, a vegetarian dish. It comes out, it looks great. I ask him how it is and his response is “meh…” I always find this answer to be a challenge to taste the food myself, so I dig in. “Meh…” was an understatement. The flavor was just so bland. There was nothing there. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely edible (as i proved by eating my double bacon cheeseburger AND finishing his stew off), but it still left something to be desired. I decided to make it a plan to reinvent the PQS. Plus, it gave me another chance to cook with quinoa. I was still warming up to it back then. I hadn’t really been sold on the idea of this little grain since you have to season the shit out of it to make it taste less like cardboard filler. I have since grown to accept it as a necessity in my pantry and I really enjoy it in stews, soups, salads, and toasted in granola. Hopefully, if you haven’t had any luck with quinoa, this will change your mind! ENJOY!!
PERUVIAN QUINOA STEW
YIELDS 5-6 QUARTS OF STEW
1C Quinoa, uncooked
1 Sweet Onion, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Celery Ribs, sliced in 1/4in thick slices
2 Carrots, sliced in 1/4 in thick slices
1 Orange Bell Pepper, diced
1 Summer Squash, cubed
1 Zucchini, cubed
1-28oz can Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1/2C Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
2C Kale, chopped
1C Sweet Kernel Corn
1tsp Chili Powder
1tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes
1-48oz Chicken Stock
Salt to taste
In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed (about 12 mins). Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large stock pot or Dutch Oven (about 6-8 qts), saute onions, garlic, carrots, bell pepper, and celery in 2T of oil. When onions start to appear clear and are tender to the touch, add tomatoes and their liquid, chicken stock, water, zucchini and summer squash. Return to a simmer and cook until squash is fork tender, but still firm. Add Kale and corn. Return to a simmer.
This is when you need to taste the stock and make sure the flavors are there. Season accordingly, until a desired flavor is reached (You should be able to just taste the cumin and coriander and there should be a gentle after-heat from the crushed red pepper flakes). Add the quinoa. Continue to simmer until the quinoa has absorbed some of the liquid and has thickened the stock (about 10 mins). Serve hot or store in freezer. Mine just doesn’t seem to stay there very long 😉