Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quinoa-Leek Pilaf is a stellar
holiday dinner side dish

This time of year, many cooks are on the lookout for a stellar side dish, one that will be a worthy alongside a magnificent Christmas turkey, ham or roast.
    But the easier the side dish the better, right?
    Well, I’ve got a recipe that fits the bill perfectly: Quinoa-Leek Pilaf (click for the recipe).
    My husband and I agreed immediately after trying it that it was a winner. The quinoa was fluffy and light; the leeks a perfect accompaniment. But it was also filling and hearty, reminding me of stuffing.
    In fact, this pilaf could easily stand in for stuffing at any holiday dinner, and it is much easier to make. Leftovers also warmed up very nicely in the microwave, making this side nice to enjoy even after the big dinner is done.
    The secret to the pilaf’s excellent taste, I think, is that the quinoa was cooked in vegetable broth.
    The pilaf is so easy to make. Note that the recipe makes 10 to 12 servings, so be sure to halve the ingredients if you need to make less.
    The recipe says to use a large, deep skillet, but if you are nervous about this not being big enough, by all means use a large soup pot instead.
    Leeks are cooked in a skillet, then rinsed and drained quinoa is added and cooked for about five minutes.
    Vegetable broth (I used store-bought) and water are added to the leeks and quinoa and brought to a boil. The skillet or pot is then covered and simmered over moderately-low heat until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
    The pilaf is removed from the heat, left to stand for 10 minutes, fluffed with a fork then served.

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