Big Girls, Test Kitchen: Quinoa Stuffing
Stuffing was a strange recipe to come back to on a winter’s night in of movies and board games. Thanksgiving-y fare is mostly left to Thanksgiving. Even if we occasionally wonder why we don’t roast a turkey any other time, the truth is we don’t. And we don’t eat much stuffing, or much pecan pie, in February.
2-3 cups cubes of winter squash (I used kabocha, Phoebe used pumpkin)
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water or stock
6 ounces sausage (optional; I used an apple and chicken sausage), removed from the casing
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss the squash with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous amount of salt and spread on a rimmed cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, redistributing occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown. Remove and set aside.
In a 3.5 quart Dutch oven or casserole, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek and sauté for 5-10 minutes until the it begins to wilt. Add the water or stock, turn the flame to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook slowly until the leeks are completely soft and beginning to turn to mush. Take the lid off and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt. Add the baked squash to the Dutch oven, toss with the leeks, and set aside.
In a small frying pan, add a little olive oil, turn the heat to medium-high, and brown the sausage. Break it apart with your spatula as you go so the sausage crumbled into very small chunks. When properly browned, add to the pumpkin-leek mixture.
Turn the heat down to low, the onion, garlic, and thyme to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the sausage. When tender but not caramelized, add the white wine and season with salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or so until the vegetables are very tender and the alcohol in the wine has burned off. Add to the pumpkin-leek mixture.
NOTE: everything up to this point can be done 1-2 days before.
When ready to eat, toss the quinoa in with the veggies and sausage. Add the 2 cups of water or stock and the egg and stir well to distribute everything evenly. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for about 40 minutes, until the water is all absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Remove the lid and cook for another 10 minutes until the top is slightly browned.