Despite quinoa’s rise in popularity, most people still are trying to figure out what to do with it.
Most recipes call for using it in pilafs and salads. But we wanted to offer up something a little different. Its nutty flavor and grain-like texture are a nice contrast to the earthy and sweet flavors of a mushroom and Marsala sauce. And what’s better than a warm casserole on a cold winter night?
We used sweet potato and egg to bind the quinoa together and assembled the chicken Marsala similar to a shepherd’s pie – warm, saucy and hearty.
Marsala Chicken Quinoa Casserole
1 medium sweet potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 cup Marsala wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
With a fork, pierce the sweet potato all over. Microwave on high until cooked and soft, about 6 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, onion, 1 teaspoon of the salt and pepper, then saute until the mushrooms have released most of their liquid and are beginning to brown and the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 to 9 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is browned and almost cooked through, about another 7 to 8 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the Marsala, cornstarch and the cream. Add to the chicken, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes.
Arrange the chicken and vegetables in an even layer over the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Set aside.
Peel the sweet potato into a medium bowl, discarding the peel. Smash the sweet potato and mix in the quinoa, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the eggs and nutmeg. Spread this mixture over the top of the chicken and mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbling and crusty.
Yield: 6 servings
Approximate nutrition per serving: 451 calories, 18 grams fat (7 grams saturated, 35 percent fat calories), 21 grams protein, 42 grams carbohydrate, 57 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams dietary fiber, 869 milligrams sodium.