I succumb. Quinoa stuffed peppers.
So, I’m Desi, right? This means that rice runs through my veins. Most babies start with rice cereal, but Desis go on to pilau, biryani, gur dai chowl, kheer, firni…..you get the picture. This also means that in my mind, any grain that doesn’t come in a 20-lb burlap sack like basmati seems like kind of a waste of money.
So, quinoa. Originally, it freaked me out (why is it translucent?). But I came around, especially after a veggie and quinoa soup by my friend Sadia. And now, I’ve joined the quinoa cult. Whooooooo. One of us. One of us.
This was a really flavorful meal and it came together really quickly. I made the quinoa and beef before Hamza’s first nap, stuffed the peppers during the second nap, and baked them while I was putting him to bed, just in time for friends to come over for dinner.
I had a lot of plain quinoa left over, so half the recipe if you just want enough for the stuffing. I served the quinoa along with the peppers.
1 lb ground beef (I think this would be delicious with turkey as well)
2 cups quinoa
2 bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 can diced tomatoes (fire roasted or plain)
4 cups broth (or as much as you need according to the quinoa package’s directions)
1 cup corn kernels (cook frozen kernels in boiling water for 2-3 min or use canned).
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Chipotle in adobo
Cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt
4 poblano peppers (they’re usually skinny)
2 red bell peppers (these were kind of skinny as well)
In a large nonstick pan, sautee one bunch of chopped scallions and 1 minced garlic clove until soft. Add the black beans, 1 can of tomatoes, corn, quinoa and broth along with 1 tsp of cumin, coriander, and chili powder. Stir well to incorporate the liquids into the quinoa. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover it. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. The quinoa is cooked through when it is transparent and you can see the circular germ. Fluff it with a fork, put into a bowl, and set aside.
In the same pan (yay, less dishes! just wipe it clean), sautee the second bunch of chopped scallions, red onion, and 2 cloves of garlic. Once these are soft, turn the heat up a bit and add the meat in a single layer and brown on one side. Before turning it over, add (depending on your spice/flavor preferences) 1-2 tsp of cumin, coriander, and chili powder as well as 1 tsp of kosher salt. Also, chop the cilantro stems and add those in (I do this every time I cook ground beef – it really gives a beautiful flavor. Learned it from my Daadi!). Turn the meat over and break it up to mix in and incorporate the spices, cilantro and onions. Add one or two tsp of chipotle-in-adobo (either puree the can and add that, or chop a couple of peppers and add a spoonful of the sauce, too). Add a bit of broth or water to help clean the good stuff off the bottom of the pan and cover. Turn the heat down and cook for 10 min or so until the meat is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed (you may have to remove the lid for the liquid to cook out).
Mix the meat mixture with half of the quinoa and add fresh chopped cilantro.
For the peppers: I used a mixture of poblanos and red bell peppers because, as you know, Ameir hates bell peppers. Lop off the stem/top of each pepper, then cut each pepper in half and remove the seeds. If there’s any pepper still attached to the stem, just chop it and add it to the filling or into the pan that you’ll bake the mixture in.
Stuff each pepper half with the quinoa-meat mixture. Spray a 13×9 dish with cooking spray or coat with olive oil. Pour in a can of diced tomatoes and any chopped pepper pieces. Arrange the stuffed peppers in the pan. Cover and bake at 350F for 45 min, or until the peppers are as soft as you like them. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with sour cream.
Also, this is what you do with your leftover quinoa.