Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sage Quinoa with Pumpkin & Mushrooms

I often get a kick out of calculating how much a home made dinner I make costs. Todays dinner cost $5 for 2 people. Here is the breakdown:

*1 c. of bulk quinoa= $1
*1 small pie pumpkin= $.60
*Breasts from store bought roasted chicken (we had the dark meat in tacos for lunch) $2.50
*1/2 container sliced mushrooms $1
* 1/4 container of fresh sage leaves $.75
*chicken stock $2
More than enough food for 2 people: $5.35 not too shabby

Here is how its done:

Get a pan with a steamer basket and water on the stove and bring water to a simmer.
While that's going, get to your pumkin: Breaking it down can be a little challenging, but armed with a sharp knife or a sharp veggie peeler don't even sweat it! Chop the bottom off the pumkin so it can sit flat on your cutting board. Take your knife or peeler and remove the skin. Take a spoon and scrape out the seeds/pulp. Now cut off the top of your pumpkin and proceed to cut it into 3/4 in. or so pieces. Dump these in your steamer and let them go for 15 minutes or so on med. low heat.

Next, Get a small sauce pan nice and hot so you can toast up the Quinoa. Not sure that it is completely necessary, sometimes you can get a funny taste if you don't rinse or toast it but go ahead and skip the step if you don't feel like it. The cooking ratio for quinoa is the same for rice 1:2. I used chicken stock to cook mine and added a couple sage leaves to the pot. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes. The quinoa is ready when its 'sprouted' and a little al dente. Almost has a caviar like bite to it.

Alrighty- while the pumpkin and quinoa are doing their thing, get a saute pan on the stove on medium heat. I decided instead of olive oil I would make some brown butter and draw out the flavor out of the sage and onions this way. Brown butter is delicious and easy to do. Generally for sweet things (crepes, etc) you would use unsalted butter but if all you have is salted it will work just fine. The trick to it is to let the butter cook slowly on medium heat until it is the color of hazelnuts/amber color. Once its reached this point go ahead and add 1/2 a sweet yellow onion and saute until translucent. Continue to cook on medium heat and add 3 sage leaves, about 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and and your mushrooms and cook down until the mushrooms are done releasing any water (salt to taste).

By this point your pumpkin should be done- test with a fork and if pierced easily you should be good to go. Add the pumpkin to your mushroom pan and cover with a lid. Check your Quinoa- the liquid should be absorbed and the quinoa puffed up slightly- fluff with a fork, remove from the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Now, I mentioned that I had bought a small roasted chicken from the store this afternoon. I used the dark meat for tacos and left the breasts intact and on the bone so they wouldn't dry out. To reheat, I rinsed the water out of the pan I used to steam the pumpkin and put about 1/2 c. of chicken stock and the wings from the chicken in it and brought it to a simmer. Keeping the skin on, I removed the breasts from the chicken and placed them skin side down in the simmering liquid. Then turned the heat down as low as possible and put a lid on the pot.

Prepare to plate your dinner- I laid down the Quinoa, topped it with the mushroom and pumpkin mixture and then remove your heated through chicken breasts with skin removed. Remove the chicken wings and sage leaves from your liquid used to reheat the chicken and spoon over the breasts. Enjoy! *Excuse the lighting in my kitchen- these eco bulbs do not do the dish justice!


Jen said...

ummmm, waiting for a chill day to try this one out! but i will cheapen it up even more by using one or two of the liquid concentrate 'savory broth' packets from Trade Joe's to change out the carton of chicken broth-- that stuff is on my list of favs lately!

Brian said...

i'm convined i can make this easily on a crafty table. i will post the results.

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