Thursday, April 3, 2014
Basic Quinoa Pilaf
What Bon Appetit did for rice last year, America's Test Kitchen has now done for quinoa. This recipe is fantastically good.
Plain quinoa has always seemed rather boring to me. And I never really loved the texture after the traditional cooking method, basically cooking it almost like you would rice in a lot of water. It's easy to overcook so it comes out mushy, and it's pretty bland so you have to add a lot of other ingredients to build flavor.
This recipe, which appeared recently on CNN Eatocracy, is relatively simple and amazing good. The quinoa is first dry-toasted, which gives it a wonderful nutty flavor. Then it's cooked in just slightly more water than quinoa (the Bon Appetit rice method that I love similarly uses less water--interesting) and finished with fresh herbs and lemon juice. Butter and sautéed onion add their flavor magic too.
Basic Quinoa Pilaf
Adapted from Quinoa Pilaf with Herbs and Lemon, by America's Test Kitchen for CNN Eatocracy
3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed (it's okay if it's still a little damp from rinsing; it will dry out quickly in the hot pan)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine
Large pinch of salt
7/8 cup of water (i.e. not quite a cup)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and toast, stirring frequently, until the quinoa is fragrant and makes a popping sound almost continuously, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a bowl.
2. Turn down the heat under the empty saucepan to medium-low. Add the butter; when melted, add the onion and salt and cook until the onion is softened and starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Turn heat back up to medium-high, add the water and toasted quinoa and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the seeds are just tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pan to sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff quinoa and stir in the lemon juice and chopped parsley.