Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quinoa with Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Sauteed Shiitakes

I don't know about you but sometimes I crave veggies with a vengeance.  And after a weekend of stuffing my face, all I wanted was something between a salad and a pile of cooked veggies.  This dish fit the bill nicely (and coincidentally was one of the first few recipes that really drew my eye in my new Jean-Georges cookbook).  Quinoa is a lovely healthy grain that Alex and I don't make nearly enough of.  I also feel the same way about shiitake mushrooms (although it's obviously not a grain).  So this dish combined two of my favorite underutilized ingredients in a wonderful way.  I was afraid the dish might be a bit bland, but it was surprisingly tasty.  I really should have known better than to doubt Jean-Georges Vongerichten!  No one component of the dish really stood out for me, but I really enjoyed the combination of woodsy, meaty shiitakes, creamy goat cheese and nutty quinoa. Our goat cheese tasted faintly lemony to me, which I thought was nice.  The flavors are somewhat subtle (with the exception of the sauteed shiitakes which have a really deep and rich flavor to them), but they work together beatuifully.  Toasting the quinoa to make it a little nuttier and give it a little more texture was a great touch.  Hurray for a healthy vegetarian meal!  Over the next few weeks I am definitely planning on a few more healthy vegetarian meals until I atone for all of my recent gluttony.  Vegetables and whole grains, here I come.

Recipe after the jump!

Quinoa with Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Sauteed Shiitakes
Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Recipes
By Jean-Georges Vongerichten

1 cup quinoa
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp evoo
8 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
6 oz baby spinach
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp red wine vinegar
4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Toast the quinoa in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes.

Spoon the warm quinoa and mushrooms over the spinach on a serving platter, then drizzle with the vinegar and remaining 2 tbsp oil.  Season with salt and pepper and top with the goat cheese.

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