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Author Notes: I love stuffing, but don't enjoy the stuffed feeling after a big Thanksgiving dinner, so I'm looking at ways to lightened the dinner up this year without losing the traditional Thanksgiving feel. Lately I've been exploring cooking with whole grains and wanted to create a quinoa stuffing. In this recipe the dried fruit and the quinoa work very well together for a light but flavor punched addition to turkey, chicken, squab or pork. The most important thing in working with quinoa grain is to clean it adequately. To do this, place the grain in a deep bowl filled with cold water and rub the quinoa between your palms in the water. Do this through three changes of water followed by a thorough rinse through a steel strainer with a fine mesh. —TheWimpyVegetarian
Makes 2 cups of stuffing
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup brandy, or enough for thoroughly soaking the dried fruit
- 1/2 yellow onion, very small diced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons leek, very small diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2/3 cup quinoa, washed
- 1 1/3 cups chicken stock, preferable homemade
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
- 1/3 cup spinach leaves, torn into large pieces
- lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- Macerate the dried apricots, cherries and raisins in the brandy for 1 hour in a small bowl, tossing in the brandy occasionally.
- Sweat the onion, shallot, leek and celery in olive oil until soft and aromatic. This is one of your 2 key flavor components, so don't rush it. Add the qunioa grain and stir to mix in for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, parsley, spinach, lemon zest, salt and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the dried fruit leaving any residual brandy in the bowl. This is your second big flavor component. Stir dried fruit into the quinoa mixture thoroughly and cover the pot for 5 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lemon if needed.
- The quinoa stuffing is now ready. It's beautiful enough to be served on the side or you can use it to stuff your turkey before roasting. If you want the quinoa mixture to hold together better when stuffing the turkey, I recommend you add 1/2 egg to the stuffing as a binder.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Thanksgiving Stuffing