Creemy Leeky Quinoa

When autumn starts setting in, the crops are ripened, the day is spent canning tomatoes and the temperature drops steadily – I crave heavier (read fatty), filling, comfort foods.  This pillowy bed of quinoa satisfies the craving with a vengeance.  It’s rich, unctuous and aromatic thanks to herbs and wine.  A few roasted vegetables and you have a meal.  A pretty fancy one at that.

Yield: 4 servings (as a main)

What you need:

  • 1 cup quinoa, soaked for several hours and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely diced leek, white and light green parts only, about 2 medium
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional but recommended)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (I work with unsalted broth, if your broth is salted, you may not need any salt)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 3/4 cup cashew cream (or other non-dairy cream)
  • roasted vegetables to serve (optional)

What you do:

  1. Heat the oil over medium-low flame in a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven.  When warm, add the leek.  Sweat the leek for several minutes until soft and reduced a bit.  Make sure it doesn’t brown, lowering heat as required.
  2. Add the thyme leaves and herbes de Provence and cook another minute or three, until very aromatic.
  3. Add the wine and turn up the heat somewhere closer to medium.  Cook until the wine has simmered almost dry.
  4. Add the drained quinoa, broth and salt if using.  Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.  Check the quinoa, it should have absorbed the liquid but still be quite soft and mushy – this might take 15 minutes or 25 depending on the variety you’re using and how long it’s been soaked.  When the texture is right, turn off the heat and let sit 5 or 10 minutes, covered.
  5. Uncover, add the cashew cream and stir to mix.  Taste for salt (and pepper if you like), adjusting as desired.                                                                                                 IMG_0551
  6. Serve, topped with roasted vegetables or whatever you fancy.

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