Quinoa is one of my new favorite foods. It is a disk-shaped seed that is high in protein and fiber and is now readily available in most supermarkets. It is cooked like rice, but has the added benefit of a nutritionally better profile. I stumbled upon this recipe in an old issue of Gourmet from 1992. That goes to show you that Gourmet was savvy about food before most of us had even heard about it. I still miss that magazine.
Timbales are molds in which food can be cooked or shaped. If you do not have timbales here is a good source. I used mini jello molds that I have had for many years. I would think that hardware stores would be a good place to look for inexpensive molds also.
The advantage of using a mold for this dish is twofold. The first reason is all about presentation. The pearly quinoa studded with dried cranberries and parsley just looks good that way. The second reason is all about portion control. My molds hold about 1/2 cup and that is just the right amount of food for a serving.
With the spiced quinoa timbales I served curried chicken from the leftovers of a roasted bird and roasted brussel sprouts. I love brussel sprouts browned in the oven. But even more I loved the flavors in the quinoa. This is an outstanding side dish that I will be cooking often.
SPICED QUINOA TIMBALES
1 cup quinoa
1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a rounded 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
In a fine sieve rinse the quinoa under cold water for 1 minute and drain it well. In a heavy saucepan cook the onion in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the cumin, the cinnamon, and the turmeric, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the quinoa and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth, the water, the cranberries, the roasted red pepper, and the salt and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat, let the mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes, and stir in the parsley. Divide the quinoa mixture among 6 buttered 1/2 cup timbale molds, packing it, and invert the timbales onto a platter or onto individual dinner plates. Serves 6.