Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quinoa with Braised Greens and Applewood Smoked Bacon

Quinoa (keen-WAH) is well known for it's nutritional benefits. It's low in fat, high in complex carbs and 1 cup contains 58% of the recommended daily intake of manganese (strengthens cell walls and stimulates collagen production - reportedly also helps in the boudoir). Plus, the 8 grams of protein in each cup of cooked quinoa are complete proteins. That means it contains all 8 essential amino acids, all necessary for tissue development and healthy body function. Basically, quinoa is awesomeness incarnate.

There's only one problem...

It tastes like bird seed smells.

I might be named after a bird but that doesn't necessarily mean I want to eat like one.

Nonetheless, Mr. TA is currently training for a marathon in April, and as such we're trying to maintain a diet that keeps him nourished and energized, but doesn't make me a big fat cow. Sorry, as much as I like going to the gym I'm not running a marathon. I would die.



Enter quinoa. Great source of nutrition, itty-bitty footprint on the caloric scale. (I just thought of that scene from Aladdin where the Robin Williams says, "Great-Big Cosmic Power! Itty-bitty living space. I loled.) I decided that I had to discover some way to cook it to make it more palatable to my non-bird-seed-loving tastes and developed this.

It's good.

Quinoa with Braised Greens

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
10 oz. baby spinach
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 slices applewood smoked bacon, chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock

In a small saucepan with lid rinse quinoa until water runs clear. Drain completely. Add 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let sit 20 minutes undisturbed. Meanwhile, in a large skillet brown the bacon over medium-high heat. When browned and starting to crisp stir in the onion and cook until beginning to soften. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the spinach in bunches until it all fits. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and cover. Let cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and cook until most of the braising liquid evaporates. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve over the quinoa.


katie said...

It is the secret trick of adding bacon to make it all better, sounds great! Another tip I read about making quinoa taste good is to cook it like a risotto. So there you go, if you have any left.

Anonymous said...

Quinoa just keeps popping popping popping up! It's the grain of the season right now. Delicious meal with less than 10 ingredients? Great!

Jude said...

I'd probably end up the same way if I tried to run a marathon. Only I'd foam at the mouth first before dying.

Don't remember where I read it but I agree. Quinoa reminds me of miniature condoms.

Sweet Bird said...

Jude - Finally someone that agrees with me about the condom thing! They totally do and no one else will admit it!

Anonymous said...

Love quinoa. But it should be "its nutritional benefits" -- not it's (which is a contraction for it is). Hope that helps.

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