Quinoa beefs up home­made en­chi­ladas

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - KELLY BRANT

There are lots of rea­sons to eat less meat. Some are philo­soph­i­cal and some are prac­ti­cal. I won’t get into mine here.

I strongly be­lieve it is a mat­ter of choice. And much like re­li­gion and pol­i­tics, it isn’t ap­pro­pri­ate for me to push my be­liefs on you or for you to push yours on me.

Re­gard­less of the rea­son, for those who grew up with meat as the star on the din­ner ta­ble, ad­just­ing to meat as sup­port­ing player can be a chal­lenge.

Find­ing fla­vors and tex­tures that are not only fill­ing but sat­is­fy­ing isn’t easy.

One trick I’ve writ­ten about be­fore is in­cor­po­rat­ing whole grains into meat dishes such as meat­loaf and ta­cos. The grains usu­ally soak up the other fla­vors in the dish and blend right in with the ground meat. It’s an easy way to stretch the meat to make more serv­ings and it adds a nu­tri­tional boost to the recipe.

I re­cently tried it with en­chi­ladas with great re­sults. I used my reg­u­lar (but def­i­nitely not au­then­tic) en­chi­lada recipe and, though he no­ticed, the hus­band didn’t bat an eye or com­plain about the added grain. And he had sec­onds.

I like to bake the en­chi­ladas in two dishes, one for now and one to freeze for later.

Beef and Quinoa En­chi­ladas

Veg­etable oil for coat­ing dish

½ cup quinoa, well rinsed 1 cup wa­ter

Salt

1 pound lean ground beef (I

like to use ground round) 2 ta­ble­spoons taco sea­son­ing (from a packet or home­made; recipe fol­lows) 1 (15-ounce) can chili beans ½ cup corn ker­nels

2 to 3 cups home­made en­chi­lada sauce (recipe fol­lows) OR 2 (10-ounce) cans

16 corn tor­tillas

8 ounces shred­ded ched­dar or Mon­terey Jack cheese, or a com­bi­na­tion

2 ta­ble­spoons fire-roasted diced green chiles (from a can)

Heat oven to 350 de­grees. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch bak­ing dish or 2 (7-by-11-inch) bak­ing dishes with veg­etable oil.

In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and wa­ter to a boil. Add a pinch of salt; re­duce heat and sim­mer about 15 min­utes.

Mean­while, cook the ground beef in a large skil­let over medium heat, break­ing the beef into crum­bles. Drain ex­cess fat. Stir in taco sea­son­ing, cooked quinoa, beans and corn. Cook 1 to 2 min­utes. Re­move from heat.

Pour the en­chi­lada sauce in a wide, shal­low dish.

Dip each tor­tilla in sauce, coat­ing both sides. Spread about ¼ cup beef mix­ture down the cen­ter of each tor­tilla and top with a sprin­kle of cheese. Roll and place, seam side down, in the pre­pared bak­ing dish. Re­peat with re­main­ing tor­tillas and fill­ing. Pour any re­main­ing sauce over en­chi­ladas. Sprin­kle with re­main­ing cheese and green chiles. Cover loosely with foil and bake 20 min­utes. Re­move foil and con­tinue bak­ing un­til cheese is bub­bly and browned, about 5 min­utes. Let cool slightly be­fore serv­ing.

Makes 16 en­chi­ladas.

Red En­chi­lada Sauce

6 dried red chile pep­pers such

as gua­jillo

2 cloves gar­lic, peeled 2 (14-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced toma­toes ½ tea­spoon cumin seed Ground black pep­per 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil

2 cups veg­etable broth

Kosher salt, to taste Sugar, to taste

Heat oven to 350 de­grees. Place chiles on a bak­ing sheet and heat in oven un­til puffed and aro­matic, 3 to 5 min­utes. Re­move from the oven and al­low to cool. Re­move stems and seeds; tear pep­pers into pieces.

Place chiles, gar­lic, toma­toes, cumin and black pep­per in jar of a blender. Puree un­til as smooth as pos­si­ble.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat un­til shim­mer­ing. Set a fine mesh strainer over pan and pour in sauce. Press mix­ture with a large spoon to ex­tract as much liq­uid as pos­si­ble. Dis­card solids. Cook sauce, stir­ring fre­quently, un­til thick­ened to con­sis­tency of tomato paste. Pour in veg­etable broth, bring to a boil, then re­duce heat and sim­mer 10 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Taste sauce and sea­son with salt and sugar to taste.

Makes 2 to 3 cups.

Recipe adapted from Se­ri­ousEats.com

Taco Sea­son­ing

1 ta­ble­spoon PLUS 1 tea­spoon

onion pow­der

¼ cup chile pow­der (I like to

use an­cho)

1 heap­ing tea­spoon gar­lic

pow­der

2 tea­spoons cumin seed 1 ta­ble­spoon crushed red

pep­per flakes or to taste 1½ tea­spoons dried oregano

In an air­tight con­tainer, com­bine all in­gre­di­ents and mix well.

Makes about ½ cup.

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