By Iron Chef Leftovers
I like quinoa – it is nutty, easy to cook and really healthy for you since it is a whole grain and does not contain gluten. It is also one of the oldest cultivated agricultural products on the planet. I recently served a quinoa hash as a side dish for my End of the World meal. If you need a hearty side dish or something that can be expanded to a meal and cooked in really short time, this is one for you. I got the idea from this recipe from both Modernist Cuisine at Home and Cooks Illustrated, but the recipe is pretty much my version.
½ cup red (or any type) quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil
¾ cup stock (chicken of veggie) or water
½ can black beans (preferably low or no sodium)
2 oz. queso fresco
Rinse the quinoa and drain. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the quinoa and toss to coat with the oil. Sautee the quinoa for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant. If it starts to brown deeply, lower the heat to medium. Add stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until the quinoa begins to unfurl, about 15 minutes. Drain the beans and fluff the quinoa with a fork when it is finished. Add the beans to the quinoa, taste (add salt as necessary) and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Plate and sprinkle queso fresco on top. A sprinkle of chopped cilantro would also be nice.
The quinoa can be made in advanced and reheated with the beans prior to serving. This serves as a nice base for chicken, fish, veggies, or pretty much anything that you would want to put with it. Make sure you rinse the quinoa first and drain most of the water before putting it in the oil. Rinsing it removes a naturally occurring chemical on the grain that produces bitter flavors if you make it without washing it first. Quinoa can be found at most supermarkets either in the bulk food section, the rice isle, organic section or the ethnic foods section.