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Generally Recognized As True: Quinoa with beef, red pepper, and mushroom

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Quinoa with beef, red pepper, and mushroom

Today, I decided to try and make use of quinoa. I had heard about this wonder-seed in a book I read recently -- it was mentioned particularly for its high quality protein content because it has all of the amino acids the body requires from protein, making it unique and particularly useful for vegetarians. Apparently, if you don't eat meat then it is more challenging to get all of the essential amino acids from your non-meat protein sources.

I bought some quinoa for the first time last week and tried it straightforwardly simmered in water according to the package instructions, except with a bit of salt in the cooking water. It had a taste of its own, quite similar to millet but a bit more robust. It wasn't an overpowering taste.

Since I'm not a vegetarian, I allowed myself to recognize that it had a taste that would go ideally with beef and onion. So, today, I decided to see if that would work.

I think it turned out well.

Here's what you need:
  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa grain: I used Bob's Red Mill organic
  • 1 large sweet red bell pepper
  • 1 small-medium red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 medium-sized white mushrooms: I used 1 creimini and 1 oyster mushroom
  • 1 heaped tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tsp. beef bouillon: I used the beef "Better Than Boullion"; the package said 1 tsp. was equal to 1 cube of regular bouillon. BTB seems to have fewer mystery ingredients than regular bouillon and tastes as good if not better.
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • water as required below
In a saucepan, add the salt to 2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. water and bring it to a boil. When boiling, reduce to a simmer, add the quinoa grain, stir, and cover. Cook for 12 minutes. After this time, it should be removed from the heat and left to stand covered for 10 minutes. Try to time this to coincide with the completion of the steps that follow, but a few minutes of extra standing isn't going to hurt.

Slice the red onion and finely slice the garlic clove. Chop the red pepper and the mushrooms.


In a saute or frying pan, heat the olive oil until it starts to smoke and then add the onion and garlic and stir with a spatula to distribute evenly. After a couple of minutes, add the red pepper and mushroom, distribute with spatula and let cook for about 5 minutes, disturbing with the spatula periodically.
 
Add 1/3 cup water to the saute pan, stir for about 30 seconds, then cover, and reduce heat so that it can simmer for about 3 minutes. At this point, add the bouillon and black pepper and stir it in until dissolved. Return cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
 
At this point, the quinoa should almost have finished its 10 minutes of standing.
 
Mix the corn starch with an equal amount of water in a small cup or bowl until the corn starch is dissolved in the water. Add it to the saute pan and stir. The contents should start to thicken. Cook for about 1 minute.
 
Add the cooked quinoa to the saute pan and combine it with the saute pan contents and cook for another minute.
 
That's all!

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