I’m craving an adventure. Ever since I was lucky enough to scoop up some chanterelles for a steal I have been entranced with the thought of wandering down a mist covered path, the earth moist beneath my feet, looking under pine needles and discarded leaves searching for these jewels of the forest. It seems so romantic, wandering a strange landscape, not a soul in sight, lost in the deep dark woods.
I haven’t quite managed to go foraging just yet but I did take my camera and head out for a little hike in my part of the woods to satiate my desire for the great outdoors. Sometimes I get caught up in the limitations of where I live, focusing on the fact that it’s too cold, too wet, and too dreary. But I have to remind myself that there is purpose and beauty in the damp dark silence of a Portland fall. It’s not something to run and hide from but to explore and appreciate.
All my dreaming of mushrooms and secret forays into the woods led me to this quinoa recipe. I was looking for a dish that would capture the best flavors of fall, rich earthy mushrooms, sweet tart apples and buttery winter squash. I don’t usually think to use apples in savory dishes, it just doesn’t occur to me but I thought it would be a nice counterpoint to the earthiness of the mushrooms. It’s hearty enough for a main course but would also be a delicious side dish to serve with roasted pork. I plated myself up a huge bowl and set myself up by the fire, grateful that I was inside, safe and sheltered from the rain coming down outside.
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Quinoa with roasted chanterelles, apples and squash
½ pound chanterelles, cleaned, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup fresh parsley
1 tart apple, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small (about 1 pound ) sweet dumpling squash, seeded and cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup quinoa
Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place the apples and squash on separate baking sheets, tossing each of them with a tablespoon of olive oil and a small handful of thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and golden brown.
Repeat with the chanterelles tossing with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, a few sprigs of the thyme, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring 4 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook uncovered for 12 minutes, then drain the quinoa into a sieve and then place the sieve back over the pot, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it steam for 10 minutes, until fluffy and dry.
Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes until the onions have cooked down and are caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes then deglaze the pan with the vinegar and honey.
Add the quinoa to the onions along with the chanterelles, apples and squash tossing to combine the ingredients and let cook for a few minutes to heat everything through and let the flavors develop, top with the parsley and serve.