Thursday, January 10, 2013

Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Pilaf

Ever since I roasted mushrooms to make a mushroom bisque a month or so ago, I have been enamoured with them. Roasting can turn regular white mushrooms with little flavor, into a delicious meaty morsel. I've used them in the bisque, I've used them in my loaded veggie chili, and now I'm using them in a lovely pilaf along with roasted butternut squash, baby kale and brown rice and quinoa mixed grains.

I cut up a pound of mushrooms in to chunks, about 8 pieces per mushroom, and I peeled and cut up a butternut squash in to 1/2 " pieces. Each came to about 6 cups of vegetables. I heated the oven to 400 and sprayed two baking pans with non-stick cooking spray. If you have the olive oil flavor, that's great. I sprayed the tops of the veggies, too. Roast them for 20 minutes, rotating trays after ten minutes. You want to make sure the water that comes off the mushrooms has a chance to evaporate.

In the meantime, chop up half of a red onion in to a small dice. If you want to use fresh garlic, chop up or press a couple of large cloves. One thing that I do to make things come together quickly is chunky garlic from a tube. You can find it, along with ginger, garlic paste, and cilantro paste, in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store.  Get a large sautee pan heating over medium high heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of nice olive oil. When it's shimmering, add in the onions. I cooked them so that they got a bit of a crisp on them, to add texture. Add in the garlic and quickly sautee.  Deglaze with a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Now it's time to add in your mushrooms and stir the mixture together. Doesn't it look delicious?

I'll let you in on another secret of mine. If you don't have time to make your own quinoa and brown rice for this dish, or any other, for that matter, see if you can find this product: Seeds Of Change organic quinoa and brown rice. It's super easy to cook. Just 90 seconds in  your microwave.

Once the mushrooms are nicely coated with the balsamic vinegar and the onion garlic mixture, it's time to add in the kale. You can use a bunch of regular kale that you've taken the woody stems off of and chopped, or you can you baby kale. I'm fortunate in that my Kroger has started carrying baby kale in a large clamshell type container. It's probably meant for kale salad, but it hasn't made it that far with me. I keep sauteeing it with garlic and olive oil.

 See, it really cooks down. Keep turning the leaves so that they cook down evenly. Then add in the quinoa and rice mixture and the butternut squash. Toss everything gently, to combine. Adjust your seasonings, adding salt and pepper if you like, and more balsamic vinegar to taste. I finished mine off with a big splash of balsamic vinegar, some freshly ground pepper, and a dash of TrueLemon to give it a little extra zing. This made 6 very large servings. After having 2 last night and 1 for breakfast, I'm guessing I'll be done with the whole batch by tonight. ;)
Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Pilaf
6 cups butternut squash, 1/2 " cubes
1 pound mushrooms, roughly diced (6 cups)
olive oil cooking spray
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 T garlic
2-4 T balsamic vinegar
1 package baby kale (3+ cups) or large bunch, stemmed and chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked quinoa
squeeze of lemon (optional)
salt and pepper to taste