Pablanos Stuffed with Quinoa, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
February 27, 2011 § 4 Comments
I’m frugal. I can’t help it; my parents grew up in the Depression. When I see a deal, a quality deal, I take it.
For instance, several weeks ago Jennifer and I did one of our super grocery shops. Two or three grocery stores, big carts full of everything from toilet paper to hummus to chicken sausage. We drove our cart by the Island of Misfit Produce—the rack of old artichokes, spotty potatoes, soft pears—in our local Stop & Shop. We don’t normally shop from this spot, but for some reason that day we did. Four artichokes, somewhat soft = $1.88 – and they are usually $2 each. Four humongous pablano peppers = $1.88. $1.88? Amazing.
Okay, so … the peppers. Normally what we do with peppers is we stuff them. We picked up the idea a couple of years ago from an episode of Guy’s Big Bite. He stuffed them with an arborio-style rice, chorizo and maybe some bell peppers. Instead of chorizo we use shrimp; we’ve also used rice, bulgur and quinoa.
The Misfit peppers had a few spots. Whatever. Spots can be removed. Peel it away, cut it out, chop it up—that’s the Great Depression way. And that’s exactly what I did. I removed anything on the pepper that was soft or wimpy. Some looked pretty good – some looked like they were really mangled in the end. But since they were pretty large peppers to begin with, all four turned out to be a good size, regardless of the chunks I removed. In they went into a Ziploc freezer bag and into the freezer.
Remember a few days ago we made a side dish of quinoa with carmelized onions and mushrooms? That’s what we stuffed into the pablanos. The quinoa is easy—here it is:
- 2 3/4 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
Heat chicken stock to boiling. Add quinoa and a pinch or two of salt. Stir. Turn OFF the heat and cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Yes, it’s that easy. So, listen to this – quinoa has a protein content of about 12% AND it’s a complete protein source. It’s good for you – no need to add hamburger to this, dude.
Okay, so … to this you add caramelized onions and sauteed shitake mushrooms. What we did – actually, what Jennifer did – was caramelized the sweet onions in a pan with fresh thyme. She then removed the onions and put the sliced shitakes right in all that thyme-y, oniony goodness. Mmm, mmmm, mmm.
We combined the onions and mushrooms with the quinoa. Served as bunch as a side dish with fish tacos.
So, with all that leftover quinoa, we stuffed it into those pablanos. We thawed the pablanos several hours beforehand; and stuck them into a 425F oven for about 10 min. That loosened up the skins a bit – just enough to make them not too tough. While that was happening, I warmed up some of the quinoa in a glug of chicken stock AND I added about 6-7 chopped shrimp (cut shrimp in half lengthwise, the crosswise in thirds). Just tuck those shrimpies into the quinoa and turn heat to looooooow. Cover. Let it sit there for just 5 minutes. Turn heat off – you don’t want to overcook the shrimp!
Pablanos out of the oven. Quinoa warm. Stuff them together. Mmmm…. If you have any quinoa left, layer that into the bottom of a cast-iron pan. Put the pablanos on top. Sprinkle with a bit of freshly grated parmasean.Put into a 425F oven for 10 minutes. Dinner is done. And, it’s yummy.