Monday, January 16, 2012

Chorizo and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is relatively healthy and it's full of flavor from the chorizo.  If you aren't familiar with quinoa, it is an edible seed that is similar to a grain and fluffs up like rice when cooked.  It has a slightly nutty flavor and it is full of essential amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, protein and iron which makes it pretty much super food.  It can be a little bland if eaten completely plain, but mixed with the right seasonings, quinoa is a really tasty substitute for rice or cous cous.  It goes great mixed in with spicy chorizo for this stuffed pepper recipe.

4 large poblano peppers, halved and seeded. (use green bell peppers if you can't find poblanos) 
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 lb ground spicy chorizo
1 T olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 t smoked paprika (use only if you bought chorizo instead of using my recipe)
1/4 t cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups cheese (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or combination)
Sour cream and fresh lime juice for garnish
Cook the quinoa: bring the chicken broth with a few dashes of salt to a boil, add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes and all water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and set to the side until ready to use. 

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the chorizo until it is browned all over, breaking it up into little bits as it cooks.  Season with salt and pepper.  If you didn't use my chorizo recipe, this is where you can add the smoked paprika.  Taste the meat and see if you want it to be spicier - if so add some cayenne pepper.  Scoop the chorizo out with a slotted spoon and set to the side in a bowl.

If there is more than about 2 T of fat left in the pan, remove some of it until there is only 2 T remaining.  With the pan over medium heat, add the onion and saute for about 10 minutes or until soft and translucent.  Season with salt and pepper while cooking.   I had some pieces of poblano left over that I chopped up and added in with the onion.  Add the garlic and cook for two minutes longer.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine the quinoa, chorizo, and onion mixture and mix.  Add the can of diced tomotoes and 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir to combine well.  You can taste the filling here to make sure it has enough salt, spice, etc. for your taste.   

Lay your peppers out on a foil covered baking sheet.  Scoop the filling into the peppers (as much as you can fit without it spilling).  My peppers were pretty shallow so I ended up with some leftover filling, which tastes great on its own for leftovers.  Top the peppers with cheese, and bake for 40 minutes.  For the last two minutes, put the oven on broil and watch closely until the cheese is bubbly and golden.  

Remove and serve with sour cream and lime juice.  I mixed together 1 cup of sour cream with the juice of one lime for our topping. 

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