Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Need Colour

This past few days have been a bit grey and gloomy. The autumn chill has definitely set in, but instead of crisp, sunny, sweater weather, we're getting an icy drizzle and overcast skies. I know it comes with the seasons, but sometimes, you need a bit of help to keep a smile on your face. Coffee helps. Celebration adventures with loved ones help a lot. And colourful food -- for sure!

This quinoa dish definitely has many colours, enough to pick you up on a gloomy, drizzly weekend. It's inspired by a quinoa chowder from a book that my nest friend gifted me with for my 30th birthday that just past. It's a book dedicated to quinoa! I already want to make everything. But this was the first recipe that caught my eye. It's a simple stewy dish with lots of colourful vegetables -- yes, there's STILL fresh corn in the market and super ripe peppers if you hurry. And of course, I couldn't pass up this beautiful bunch of rainbow chard. My own chardlings from our balcony box gave me one last little bunch as well.

This dish is easy to put together, very healthy and definitely flavourful. It's comforting when served hot, but as it sits overnight, the quinoa kind of soaks up all the liquid and becomes kind of salad-like. It's also great cold, but feel free to add a splash of water or broth when re-heating to bring it back to it's chill-chasing stewy goodness. Keep warm and dry!

Quinoa Vegetable Stew
adapted from Quinoa: the everyday superfood by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming

1 carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cobs of corn, kernals removed
half a small bunch of rainbow chard, stalks diced, leaves cut into ribbons
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 cup of quinoa, rinsed well (I used red)
zest and juice of a lime
2-3 cups of vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste.

1. In a large pot, cook the onions, carrots, celery, pepper and chard stalks for about 5-7 minutes, until fragrant and starting to soften. Season and add the lime zest, cumin and smoked paprika.

2. Mix and cook for a minute or so, so the spices can toast. Add the lime juice and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the corn, quinoa and vegetable broth. Stir well.

3. Bring the stew up to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.

4. Remove the lid and add the chard leaves. Stir and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Enjoy with crusty bread or all by itself.

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