Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stuffed Rice w/ Red Quinoa Caps

Two of my roommates went down to Oregon and ate at a Thai restaurant called Sweet Basil, in Eugene. They told me about how beautifully the rice was presented there: a layer of red rice topping white rice in the shape of a star. I thought that was so cool that I wanted to riff on it, so I expanded the idea into an entree. Unfortunately, I couldn't find red rice but I used red quinoa for a similar visual effect and a delicious nutty taste.

1 t cooking oil
5 chicken drumsticks, scored*
1 onion, diced small
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pt cherry tomatoes
salt & pepper TT

2 C white or brown rice (we used brown jasmine rice)
1 C red quinoa (or regular quinoa if you can't find red)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat a large saute pan over high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken and brown it well.
3. Remove the chicken to a baking dish. Drop the heat to medium-high and add the onion.
4. Saute the onion for 3-4 minutes, then add the tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt & pepper, then add to the chicken. Cover and braise for 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, cook the rice & quinoa according to the package directions.
6. When the chicken is done, pull the meat off the bone and mix it with the braised onions, tomatoes & garlic. Season this filling to taste.
7. Line a medium-sized bowl with plastic wrap. Put in a layer of the quinoa, pat it down and make a depression in the middle where you can stack the filling. Put about a half cup of filling in, then cover with the rice. Pack that down neatly. Put a plate upside down on top of the bowl, get a good hold of everything, and quickly invert the whole thing, unmolding your stuffed rice onto the plate. Repeat. Fun, right?

*I've found that if you're going to braise something and you want the process to go faster, you can just cut into the item with a knife before browning it so that the second-stage, low-and-slow moist heat penetrates more quickly.

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