RECIPE. Nov 29, 2011

Festive Quinoa Vegetable Hash

The photo to your left is neither remarkable nor very good but it reminds me of the holidays. Fuzzy, warm, soft and bursting with color. This is a comfort dish that is meant for indulging between those very heavy holiday meals. I wasn’t convinced this list of ingredients would mesh well together but I should never have worried when the word “caramelized” is involved. Take anything anyone hates and caramelize it. No shit. It’s unbelievable. Onions? Caramelized? Beets? Caramelized? Brussel Sprouts? Caramelized. It’s like a magic wand for picky eaters. I kid you not, caramelized should really equal “fucking awesome”.

I guess that wouldn’t be so appropriate as titles in cookbooks. Fucking Awesome Onion Pork Chops. So this recipe was great. It is also a complete meal without a scarp of meat due to the power grain, quinoa. I think it would be a favorite in any home as long as you could get them to take just one bite. That’s no small undertaking but I have faith in you!

This recipe comes from an equally wonderful cookbook. This is the first recipe I have tried but the suggestions and ideas for having a family dinner is truly inspiring and motivating. It reminds me that the dinner table is a sacred space for connecting with one another and since this reminder we have taken action to remove all distractions from that opportunity to connect.

During the cooking process is also a great opportunity for kids to connect with parents and the food they are eating. Studies show children are twice as likely to eat their dinner if they are involved in the process of making it. Even if this means dinner takes a bit longer to make, it can really make a huge difference in your child’s willingness to consume their food. Think how much energy you will save at the dinner table when they happily chow down their meal instead of refusing to eat.

All of these ingredients are fairly seasonal as well, which means they will taste better and be less expensive, even as organic options. I got a huge bag of vegetables at the farmers market last week that lasted us two weeks and it was $9.50. That included carrots, onions, kale, spinach and beets.

Slice yams/sweet potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Toss with salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Place in well-oiled, nonstick baking pan. Cover tightly with foil, put in cold oven (this is important because gradual rise in temperature will bring out flavors) and turn oven to 400 degrees. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until yams/potatoes are very soft. Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes or until caramelized (golden or amber on the edges, almost burnt).

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in medium pot and sauté onion. Add garlic, ginger, beets and curry powder/paste and sauté until sizzling and fragrant. Add greens and stir until wilted. Add quinoa to pot of greens along with 3 cups stock/water. Simmer, with lid, until all liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). During this time DO NOT STIR THE POT. Quinoa is a grain that cooks by using up little pockets of water/air and stirring really screws with that process. To check if water has been absorbed just tilt the pot lightly and if water runs towards the edge then let it cook a bit longer.

Fluff quinoa with fork, season to taste. Add olive oil/butter and a squeeze of lemon. Put quinoa on platter, top with sweet potatoes and enjoy!