One of my favorite ways to enjoy the true flavor of artichokes is to just steam them and dip the leaves indulgently into melted butter with an added squeeze of lemon–perfection. Stuffing artichokes with buttery breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs is pretty hard to beat too. While both of these options are delicious, they aren’t exactly what you would categorize with #light , #healthy , #SummerBeachBody tags.
The artichokes I’m sharing here today however, are something you can feel great about eating. They are low in fat, calories, and packed with a protein boost from the quinoa.
This recipe came together one afternoon when I was trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner with the stuff I had on hand. Quinoa (ready in 15 minutes) has become kind of my go-to backdrop on these kinds of days, where often times I throw together a saute of whatever vegetables are in the fridge and toss it together with a few herbs or chiles.
On this particular day, I spotted the artichokes and decided my usual saute would make a really nice filling. Why not? —-Dinner was saved and we all loved the artichokes. I hope you will too!
¼ cup chopped sundried tomatoes (oil packed--drained)
Kernels from 2 ears fresh corn
5 ounces baby spinach
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup prepared pesto (good quality jarred or homemade)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 large artichokes, stems trimmed, thorns trimmed from leaves
Heat water to boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low; cover, and simmer 1 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and sundried tomatoes; cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add corn and spinach, cooking an additional 2 minutes, until spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add cooked quinoa to bowl with shallot mixture. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and pesto to bowl; toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a spoon, stuff about 1 teaspoon of filling into the bottom of
each artichoke leaf. Place artichokes in a vegetable steamer or into a large pan with a steamer basket insert and steam artichokes 45-50 minutes or until artichoke leaves release easily when pulled.
Pretty poblano peppers, stuffed and lined up all in a row. When I looked down at them sitting in their vibrant red sauce, I knew I needed to grab a quick picture before they went into the oven. I wasn’t planning to do a post about them, but after I shared this picture on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter, I had requests for the recipe.
So here we go, with just one picture that will have to do, taken on my iphone.
When we first moved here from California the only place you could find poblano peppers was in the latino market we had in town. Not exactly around the corner from me, but when I wanted to take care of my Mexican craving, I would make a point to drive out and get them. Thankfully a lot has changed since then, and all of our grocery stores carry a wide variety of chile peppers. I still can’t figure out why they don’t seem to know the code when I get up to the register though, or what the pepper is called…? Even if I have to wait while the checker calls for help, I don’t mind (too much), because I am grateful they have them for me to roast when I get home.
I roast poblano peppers and stuff them with all sorts of things like shrimp & goat cheese, roasted vegetables & Monterey Jack, Corn & Feta…the list goes on. It usually comes down to what I have in the refrigerator at the time, and then it all comes together. They are a favorite in our house regardless of the filling, and they are popular with me too, because on busy days I can prepare them ahead and pop them into the oven just before dinner.
So here you go, Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. I hope you like them!
Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Poblanos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (4 servings)
8 large poblano peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 pound chicken Italian sausage, removed from casing
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups cooked quinoa
¼ cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup minced shallots
2 cloves chopped garlic
4 red bell peppers (may use jarred roasted red peppers)
1 cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper
Line the top oven rack with aluminum foil. Place peppers on foil under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in foil 10 minutes. Peel chilies. Using small sharp knife, carefully slit chilies open along 1 side. Remove seeds, leaving stems attached.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, red peppers and sausage. Use a stiff spatula to break the sausage into several pieces. Cook until chicken sausage is cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir an additional minute. Add cooked quinoa and chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
Carefully spoon filling into peppers, pulling up sides of peppers to close slightly. Ladle enough Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (recipe follows) to cover the bottom of a 13x9" pan. Place stuffed peppers atop sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
Line the top oven rack with aluminum foil. Place peppers on foil under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in foil 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop bell peppers.
Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and chili; sauté until shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender; add bell peppers and chicken broth. Puree until smooth. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)
It usually takes me a week or so after Thanksgiving passes (an intermission), before I am ready to start hearing Christmas music on the radio, and get into the spirit of the season. I need the time to transition from pumpkins to holly.
I can’t just jump right in. What I can do though, is start thinking about what I want to cook during the holiday season. Menu planning is something that comes naturally for me, and it’s the getting together with family and friends over food and wine part of the season that really gets me excited about celebrating, so today I will share a recipe that I recently served as part of one of my cooking class menus. The ingredients have some Spanish influence, making them a nice addition to a tapas menu, but they also have that special holiday feel to them so sharing some of these with friends would be a very good idea.
The mussels are steamed in a wine broth, then pulled from their shells, chopped and added to the rest of the filling ingredients: sauteed serrano ham, spinach, and béchamel sauce. Some prep work on the front end, yes. But you are able to assemble the stuffed mussels and refrigerate up to one day ahead before they are topped with garlic aioli and popped under the broiler until golden brown and bubbly.
Even the people in cooking class who thought they didn’t like mussels fell in love with these.
So as you think about inviting friends over to share a glass of wine during the weeks ahead, I hope you will consider making these go along with your holiday cheer.
Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli
10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup mayonaise
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
¾ cup dry white wine
1 small yellow onion, minced
6 sprigs flat leaf parsley
Pinch of dried thyme
1 bay leaf
36 mussels (3 pounds)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped
3 tablespoons minced ham (serrano, prosciutto, or black forest)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup milk
Salt & freshly ground pepper
For Aioli: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a very small baking dish. Cover garlic with oil (add enough to completely cover garlic), cover dish with foil, and bake until garlic is soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish to cool. Place cooled garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in the base of a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Reserve.
For mussels: Bring the white wine, half of the onion, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and mussels to a boil in a large covered saucepan over high heat. Once mussels have been cooking 3 minutes, check to see if they have begun to open. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon as they open and transfer to a platter. Cool the mussels. Reduce the cooking liquid down to 2 tablespoons. Strain and reserve the liquid. Remove the mussels from their shells and save ⅔ of their shells. Separate each of the reserved shells into 2 halves. Chop the mussels coarsely and place in a large bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Cook the remaining onion until soft, 7 minutes. Add the spinach and ham to pan with onions, stirring until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and add to bowl with chopped mussels.
Preheat the broiler. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook; stirring 2 minutes. Add the milk and reserved cooking liquid and cook until smooth and very thick. Add to the mussels and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Stuff the shells with the mussel mixture. Spread the aioli on top of the mussels and place on a baking sheet. Broil until golden, 10-20 seconds. Serve immediately.