Quinoa has become one of my favorite whole grains. Besides tasting great, it's also a complete protein, providing all nine essential amino acids. As a side dish I like to substitute quinoa for other grains and starches like rice, barley, farro, potatoes and pasta. Sometimes I prepare a big bowl of it with sautéed vegetables mixed in and call it a meal! The blackberries in this recipe are optional but I like how they add a touch of both tartness and sweetness.
Check out my wine pairing suggestion below the recipe. If you have never had a Pinot Noir from Sancerre, I think you'll love this one.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 package of sliced button mushrooms, rinsed and drained
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained, if called for on package directions
4 cups water or chicken broth
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
1 small package of blackberries (optional)
1) Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Sauté mushrooms and peppers until mushrooms release their water and the peppers and mushrooms begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
2) Add garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Cook for another minute, stirring. Add quinoa and water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes.
3) Taste to adjust seasonings and add grated cheese. Serve garnished with blackberries if desired.
WINE PAIRING SUGGESTION:
Lucien Crochet La Croix du Roy Sancerre Rouge, 2010 ($34) Have you ever had a red wine from the Sancerre area of the Loire Valley? Most wine from Sancerre is white and made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, but a small amount of red and rosé wines are produced here. The Lucien Crochet winery is one of the most highly-regarded in all of Sancerre. The vineyards are on slopes of varying severity with wonderful exposure to the sun. Since 1989 only organic supplements have been used in the vineyards and the harvesting is done manually. La Croix du Roy Sancerre Rouge is a light to medium-bodied wine with aromas and flavors of bright red cherry and cranberry and a hint of earthiness and beautiful, rich savory notes. The velvety, refined tannins lend an elegance to the wine which evolves in the glass over the course of enjoying it. If you are having the quinoa as a side dish, this pinot noir goes particularly well with roast pork or with salmon (see my Sweet and Spicy Salmon recipe). Enjoy!