Not too long ago, Meg made an offhand remark on her awesome blog about a carrot, potato and quinoa stew that had my mouth watering. I like spicy! I like carrots! I like potatoes! And I love quinoa and want more ways to prepare it! So she sent me the link to the recipe, which turns out to be for “Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew”. Thank goodness Meg made this first, because if I’d found the recipe on my own I would have thought, “Oh, that sounds good but Pookie doesn’t eat butternut squash, so I’ll never make it.” I would never have thought to use potatoes instead.
This was a super fun recipe for me because it’s way outside my boring comfort zone. For starters, look at all these spices!
I was totally excited when, after sauteing the onion and garlic, I stirred in the spices and the whole thing immediately looked (and smelled) like an exotic sort of sauce or something. I’ve never made anything like this! I’m such a cooking weenie, in that I’ve always shied away from things that didn’t just naturally build on other flavor matches or techniques I’ve made before.
Because I needed leftovers for lunches, I doubled the recipe and crossed my fingers, hoping it would be edible. Meg’s assessment that it’s really, really spicy was spot-on, but it got rave reviews regardless. And the leftover lunches? Out of this world. When the flavors have a chance to meld overnight, this goes from being merely yummy to being scrumptious.
Now, the first time I made this, I decided to go wild, inspired by Meg’s potato-for-butternut substitution, and included some sweet potato. I didn’t consider how the potato/squash element would get really mushy and sort of integrated into the sauce, a development that made it pretty difficult to de-sweet potato Pookie’s dish. So the second time I made it, I went all potato. I liked it better with the sweet potatoes, but I think Pookie liked it better without.
And going with the potato stew? Delicious, delicious quinoa. I don’t do much with turmeric, so when Pookie first took a whiff of this, she was extremely doubtful, since most of her experiences with turmeric have involved peas in samosas. Her initial response was, “This smells like peas.” Heh. Well, it doesn’t taste like peas. It’s awesome.
So what I’m trying to say here is, a million thanks to Meg for inspiring me to try something new and exciting. This is a magnificent addition to my standard repertoire!