Monday, November 16, 2009

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers with Turmeric, Raisons and Tofu

Making this dish, though relatively easy, made me feel like one of those circus performers who balances the spinning plates on long sticks... But really it was pretty easy and forgiving as all get out. We both loved this dish, and were happily surprised and pleased with my experimental venturing into flavors/ingredients that don't normally find their way into Miranda's kitchen.
This recipe uses a pan, a small pot, and a baking tray - but the extra dishes are worth the result.

  • 7 Golden Bell Peppers (mine are homegrown and rather small- you could probably serve 2 regular sized bell peppers a person instead)
  • 1 Habanero, roasted with the bells
  • 1/4 cup Golden Raisins, chopped
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic
  • Half a block of Tofu, diced into small cubes
  • 1/4 medium sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup Quinoa cooked in 2 cups Veg Broth
  • Pinches: Cumin, Curry, Cardamom, Pepper
  • 1/8 - 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
  • Generous Salt
  • 1 Tsp freshly chopped Cilantro
  • Splash Mirin (rice wine, or sweet white wine)
Chop all ingredients first to be ready to toss in here and there as needed.

Prepare the Bells by removing the tops (set aside for serving) and seeds. Place upside down on a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake in toaster oven on the convection setting at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. When softened and browned to your satisfaction turn off oven and allow Bells to cool slightly, in oven or on counter. Roast the habanero with the Bells for a while, then chop up and add to the sauteing onions etc.

While you are preparing the bells set 2 cups veg stock and cup quinoa to boil. Cover and turn down to simmer for about 15, 20 minutes. When done, simply stir up a bit, recover and turn off heat. Add the raisins at this point. The quinoa is perfectly happy to wait for you to finish everything else.

While the quinoa is simmering and Bells are roasting - Saute Garlic, Onions, and Tofu (and habanero) in a pan over medium/high heat. Add all spices except the cilantro. Saute uncovered, stirring often until onions get soft. Once onions are completely softened, add a splash of mirin and cover and turn heat to low. This mixture will wait until you are ready for it.

When all the members of this ensemble are ready to your satisfaction, preheat the oven back to 375. Stir the Quinoa into the tofu/onion mixture and add the cilantro. Taste and add generous amount of salt as needed.

Position the peppers hollow side up, you may have to trim the bottom a bit, or squish down to create a flatter bottom. Stuff the peppers with the Quinoa mixture, sprinkle a little salt on top and place the pepper tops to create little lidded pepper receptacles.
Place peppers back in oven - be sure the rack is low enough to facilitate the taller peppers with their tops, and heat up until sizzling and lids have softened, about 3 minutes.

Carefully remove from oven and place the peppers on plates. You can also serve the extra filling, if any to the side. These could also be a side dish to a meat entree, perhaps a nice glazed chicken breast - but the Quinoa is super high in protein and perfectly acceptable for a light, vegetarian main course.

Quite pretty, if i do say so myself. The garlicy salty tastes combined and accented the sweetness of the peppers and the raisins in a really nicely balanced way. The habanero adds a nice bite of heat here and there, but also its unique flavor goes along super well with the turmeric. Don't be put off by the complicated sounding nature of juggling those 3 components - they really all are happy to wait until you're ready to put them all back together and reheat.

Might be pretty to serve with some sauteed or fresh cherry tomatoes to add a little red to the otherwise yellowy hue.
Stuffed Bell Peppers on Foodista

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