Monday, May 11, 2009

Food: Grilled Kielbasa and Quinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro

Quinoa, Black Beans, Cilantro, Kielbasa, Grill, Detroit, Quick Meals
I had an exhausting week at work last week so Friday evening I wanted to eat something that was hearty and comforting yet quick to prepare. For some reason I had a craving for kielbasa, grilled until the skin has split, crisp on the outside yet juicy and steaming in the middle, served with sauteed peppers and onions and tangy yellow mustard (I'm making my mouth water just thinking about it). I must have been feeling nostalgic because this was something I remember having at my parents' house in the summer, where we would eat dinner on the back porch, looking out into the horse pasture and woods beyond. If only I could back to those days of relaxing dinners with family, the ones where you didn't have to worry about going back to work the next day, only enjoying the weather and fellowship. But I digress :)

Since I didn't think kielbasa would be hearty enough on its own, I decided to dig up a quinoa recipe that appeared in my September 2008 Bon Appetit magazine. Besides the black beans, the two other things that appeal to me about this recipe are the salty feta cheese and fresh, lively cilantro. I happen to love the flavor of cilantro. But I find it interesting how a little plant can be so polarizing. It's a food that causes so much emotion people have blogs dedicated to either loving or hating it. Even the Wall Street Journal in February found it noteworthy enough to dedicate an article to Cilantro Haters. When I was in graduate school earning my MBA, I once had a marketing professor say that if you've designed a product that evokes love or hate, you've succeeded in a respect because you've struck on emotion and emotion causes people to act. So in that regard, I now like to think of cilantro this way - that using it in food is something good because your food won't be bland and boring but, instead, cause a little bit of fresh controversy.

Quinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped white onions
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup quinoa,* rinsed, drained
2 teaspoons chili powder (I used Chipotle Chili Powder)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup water
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Crumbled Cotija cheese or feta cheese (optional)

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and red pepper; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in next 4 ingredients.

Add water; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is almost tender, about 14 minutes.

Add beans and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is fully
absorbed, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro and cheese, if desired.

*A grain with a delicate flavor and a texture similar to that of couscous; available at natural foods stores. (You can also find this in the natural foods/grains section at many grocery stores...near the Bob's Red Mill products)

1 comment:

Kippy said...

I would try adding a little lime juice to the cooking water...a little lime never hurt anyone.

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