Looking for a Valentine’s Day recipe?
This recipe is a true labor of love. It’s perfect if you’re working from home or inside on a rainy weekend afternoon, but I really don’t recommend attempting it on a regular work night like I did, unless you’re already a fan of the 11:00 pm dinner.
If you want to take somewhat of a shortcut, Key Food on McGuinness Boulevard has packaged “Love Beets” for $2.99; these are organic, steamed baby beets. They are so sweet and delicious that sometimes I eat them plain, straight out of the packet for a snack or dessert. You can quickly chop these up and add them to the pan and cut 40ish minutes off your prep time!
Or you can be like me, with a New Year’s resolution to actually eat everything that comes weekly in the CSA box. Onwards!
2 big beets or 4 small ones, peeled
1 onion, chopped small
2+ cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups red quinoa
1/4 cup white wine or white vinegar
fresh chives ($1 from Mr. Berry!)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3-4 tbsp olive oil and/or butter
salt & white pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)
TIP: After reading about how little actual chicken and how much actual other crap is in most commercial chicken broth out there, when I’m not using homemade stock in a recipe, I’ve decided to go with the Cook’s Illustrated-recommended “Better than Bouillon” instead. They also have a tasty mushroom option. It is available in many neighborhood grocery stores and keeps for a long time in the fridge.
1. Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring it to a boil over a high flame.
2. Chop 2 of the beets into small, evenly-sized pieces and add them to the pot.
3. Reduce the heat to a simmer. After 20 minutes, check the tenderness of the beets. When they are ready, the fork will slide in with only a little resistance. Keep in mind they’re going to cook a bit more as the quinoa cooks.
4. As the chopped beets are cooking, set a large, deep pan over medium-low heat, drizzle in some olive oil & saute the onions. When translucent, add the garlic.
5. Using a cheese grater, grate the remaining beet into a small bowl. Use a spatula to scrape these bits into the pan. Stir.
6. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Stir.
7. Pour the 1 1/2 cups red quinoa into another pan, preferably one with a wide base.
8. Put the quinoa pan over a high flame, stirring often with a wooden spoon until you can smell the quinoa begin to toast. When the quinoa has toasted about a minute and smells lovely and nutty, remove the pan from the heat.
9. Fold the toasted quinoa into the pan with the beets. At this point, add 1 tbsp butter or a swig of olive oil, then use your wooden spoon to mix everything until the quinoa is well-coated and glossy. Your flame should still be medium-high.
10. Add the 1/4 cup of white wine or white vinegar. This addition is just to punch up the taste. While I would usually use wine product or white balsamic, I only had rice wine vinegar and it did the trick.
11. Stir the pan, letting the wine or vinegar gently boil off.
12. Get your broth ready! If you are using “Better than Bouillon,” I recommend mixing it up in a big measuring jug ahead of time.
13. Add 1/2 cup of broth at a time to the quinoa, stirring often and waiting in between for the liquid to be soaked up.
14. The last 1/2 cup should be evaporating about 20 minutes after adding the quinoa. At this point taste it for consistency and seasoning. The quinoa should be tender without being soupy or mushy. Add more salt to taste, as needed.
15. Keep this recipe vegan by serving as is- or take the pan off the heat and stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan! Cover with roughly chopped chives and a few good shakes of white pepper to add some depth and heat.
Making this recipe? Upload a pic to Instagram with hashtag #cookingwithclairecatering so I can check out your results!